Mainland truckers forced to overload trucks to stay in business
CHINESE truckers say they are forced to carry more than legal loads to survive now that authorities have cracked down on the practice after a fatal accident, reports Hong Kong's South China Morning Post
28 October 2019 - 19:00
Authorities in Jiangsu province launched a campaign to rectify overloaded vehicles after a 4-year-old girl and her mother were crushed in their car as a flyover collapsed on top of them in Wuxi city. A man in another car was also killed and two people injured in the accident that was blamed on and overloaded truck.
The authorities said the truck was carrying more than 170 tonnes of steel coils - 115 tonnes over the limit.
But industry insiders said most said most of the nation's 30 million owner-operators were forced to cut corners to survive in the face of skyrocketing fuel costs and falling orders.
'Overloading has become the only way to be profitable and survive in the industry,' said Hubei driver Wang Xainging, 45, adding that this was the worst year for truckers. 'Those overloaded trucks earn three times more for us.'
'Orders and freight income have been shrinking to a new record low, this year. Most truckers cannot afford to employ a relief driver and have to get by with just four hours of sleep in a 24-hour trip,' he said.
Freight income dropped from CNY10 (HK$11) per kilometre in 2016 to CNY7 last year and CNY6 this year because of fierce competition, Mr Wang said.
A driver could earn CNY17,000 in 2018 for a 2,500-kilometre round trip between Wuhan and Shenzhen, but now they will make CNY15,000, said Zhang Liang, who runs a Shenzhen vehicle logistics company. That leaves CNY4,000 after fuel costs, road tolls and truck payments are subtracted.
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