Even though the government is taking stringent measures to ensure that transportation of goods across the country during the Coronavirus crisis is unhindered, FMCG companies still have certain obstacles in their way. An acute shortage of truck drivers and labourers is being reported in the sector, leading to a significant hike in the wages for truck drivers, labourers and helpers, going as high as 30%.
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Companies dealing with food and consumables, along with the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) organisations, have been taking measures to revive their manufacturing and production lines. With the government having relaxed the restrictions on movement of goods via commercial trucks, these companies are looking to manage transportation and delivery.
However, as things stand, the current scenario reports that the number of truck drivers and labourers available to take on the aforementioned jobs does not meet the demand, due to the workers either migrating to their hometowns out of fear owing to the spread of COVID-19. And it is because of this disparity in number that truckers and workers are asking for heightened wages.
According to Angelo George, Chief Executive Officer, Bisleri, “We are witnessing acute shortage in trucks and loaders, which has created a demand-supply imbalance and is leading to arbitrary increase in wages.”.
Companies are worried regarding the steady rise in compensation even with strict government laws in place. Many industry heads feel that this exponential rise in pay is costing more to companies that work with contractual labourers.
Another point of concern for such companies is their inability to meet the rapidly rising demand for packaged and ready-to-make food items. Imposition of the lockdown, coupled with a dearth in labour, has forced consumer companies to scale down their production capacities to 10-15%. And of what is being produced is not making its way to retail stores easily.
Vikram Agarwal, MD, Cornitos, said, “Ground realities are different than what the Centre is notifying. Many local administration authorities are not cooperating and not allowing interstate movement of trucks.”.