By Rachael Julaye, LILONGWE
The 44 percent kwacha devaluation has pushed transporters in the country to revise upwards minimum road freight charges for dry cargo to ensure operations sustainability amid the economic woes.
For instance, the new charges range from K5.1 million from Beira to Blantyre to 110,000 Rands from Johannesburg to Blajty
Transporters Association of Malawi-TAM says the charges are just
a benchmark and that the transporters are free to charge over the set prices.
Its spokesperson Frank Banda has since called on all transporters to adhere to the minimum rates to ensure the sustainability of the industry and to support the requested salary hike for drivers.
”The transport industry has been grappling with various challenges including a recent strike by truck drivers demanding higher perrks.
“The delay in implementing new salaries slated for January, is contingent in increase in freight rates,” says Banda in a statement.
He adds the kwacha devaluation has exacerbated rising fuel costs, operating expenses, increased pressure on employee perks, elevated overhead costs and the risks of asset loss for borrowers with loans.
Adds Banda: “The transport Association commends government for taking swift action to revise upward road freight rates in the wet cargo category but we are calling for similar raise rates in the dry category.”
Last month, TAM agreed to increase salaries for striking truck drivers from a minimum of K140 000 to K300 000 beginning January next year.
He added that drivers’ allowance would be increased from K150,000 to K200,000 when they travel out of the country.
“We, as transporters, also had our own problems— problems we have been experiencing in this country. We are talking of problems such as loss of business and economic hardships but we have seen that our problems cannot be solved within a day and, as such, we had to reach an agreement,” said the association.