TRUCKERS FEAR OLD TRUCKS PHASE OUT WILL PARALYZE INDUSTRY
The country’s trucking industry could be paralyzed by the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB) decision to phase out all trucks aged 15 years old and above, raising fears that it could jeopardize the economic gains now being enjoyed by the country, particularly in the industrial sector where movement of raw materials and finished products to and from the ports and factories are mostly, if not entirely, dependent on trucks.
According to Confederation of Truckers Associations of the Philippines (CTAP) Chairman Col. Rodolfo T. De Ocampo (Ret.), the full implementation of the LTFRB phase-out policy on trucks aged 15-years old and above would result in the disenfranchisement of about 80 percent of the trucks now serving the country’s trucking needs.
“Our industry would severely be affected by the LTFRB policy to phase out the old trucks. And while we have appealed to the Board to consider the road worthiness of trucks in issuing the franchise instead of truck age, we are now considering other options like to seek government assistance in the form of soft loans to help us acquire new units and/or to give us tax incentives in the importation of new trucks.” De Ocampo said.
The estimated number of trucks now servicing the country’s trucking needs from both the company owned and for-hire trucks, is placed at around 380,000. A bigger number of these trucks are, however, privately or company owned. Meaning, they only haul their own load. Only about eight (8) to 10 thousand trucks-for-hire are servicing the trucking needs of the country’s two major ports, the Port of Manila (POM), and the Manila International Container Port (MICP), among other ports outside Metro Manila.
“Many of the trucks servicing the POM and MICP are owned by our members,. And since many of our trucks are aged 15 years old and above, we would be severely affected by the LTFRB policy.” De Ocampo said.
“We understand the rationale behind the government’s move to keep all trucks aged 15-years old and above off the roads. All we ask is to give us more time to replace our old truck, even if these are still roadworthy, and to assist us in the acquisition of new units.” he added.
The gradual phase out of trucks-for-hire aged 15-years old and above by the LTFRB through its Board Resolution No. 6 which defined its “On Confirmation Year “ (NCY) provisions in approving applications for truck-for-hire services, was one of the measures considered to avoid another major port congestion at the country’s two major ports. Moreover, this was also an LTFRB measure to ensure the safety and road worthiness of for-hire trucks plying the roads.
Under the NCY policy, 26-year-old trucks will only be allowed confirmation of franchise for one year, while those that are 21 to 25 years old will be granted two years validity. Trucks 16 to 20 years will be given three years; 11 to 15 years old, four years; and 10 years or less, five years.
De Ocampo, however, said that even with the gradual phaseout scheme, many truckers would still have a hard time raising the funds that would enable them to acquire new trucks, unless the government provides support to the trucking industry.
“The trucking industry is a badly battered industry. From port congestion to the truck ban, the heavy traffic and extortion from corrupt traffic enforcers and personnel of other government regulatory agencies, we have to endure this daily struggle for road survival, if only to get the much needed raw materials to the factories and the furnished products to the ports and the markets.” De Ocampo said.
“Our industrial clients rely mostly on us for their raw materials and in moving their finished products to the ports and the markets. Failing them of their cargo handling needs would have tremendous consequences on many lives. This is the reason why, before things get even worse, we are asking government support for the trucking industry. The CTAP Chair added.
CTAP is among the leading, if not the biggest nationwide confederation of truckers associations in the country. Its membership extends as far as Mindanao, the Visayas and Luzon.