Truck owners threaten 20% freight charge hike if diesel cap lifted

Truck owners threaten 20% freight charge hike if diesel cap lifted

Representatives of the Land Transport Federation of Thailand gather at Government House's complaint centre on Wednesday to demand the government continue to cap the diesel price at 30 baht per litre for a year instead of ending it this Sunday. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)
Representatives of the Land Transport Federation of Thailand gather at Government House's complaint centre on Wednesday to demand the government continue to cap the diesel price at 30 baht per litre for a year instead of ending it this Sunday. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Truck owners have demanded the government continue to cap the diesel price at 30 baht per litre for a year - or they will immediately hike freight charges by 20% this Sunday.

About 100 representatives of the Land Transport Federation of Thailand filed their demand at Government House's complaint centre on Wednesday. They opposed the Energy Ministry's plan to stop limiting the diesel price to 30 baht per litre on May 1, but instead subsidise half the increment of the price above 30 baht a litre.

The partially floated diesel price would affect transport operators, manufacturers and consumers, the representatives said.

They proposed methods, they said, could reduce the diesel price to 25-30 baht per litre.

They included the exclusion of expensive biodiesel content from local diesel and a reduction in the excise tax on diesel to 0.20 baht over the next year. The federation also asked the government not to base local oil prices on refined oil prices in Singapore, saying those prices included transport and insurance costs.

Apichart Prairungruang, chairman of the federation, said if the government began to float the diesel price this Sunday, members of the federation would immediately raise their freight charges by at least 20% to reach their breakeven point.

The rise would inevitably affect business and civil sectors and further fuel inflation, he said.

He also said that a planned government subsidy to cover half the diesel price above 30 baht from May 1 would not solve the problem.

The group's complaint was addressed to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and received in person by Mongkolchai Som-udon, deputy permanent secretary of the Prime Minister's Office.

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