Truck operators give 7-day ultimatum

Truck operators give 7-day ultimatum

Big trucks park along Vibhavadi Rangsit Road near the Energy Ministry in Bangkok on Tuesday as truck operators repeat their demands for lower diesel prices. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Big trucks park along Vibhavadi Rangsit Road near the Energy Ministry in Bangkok on Tuesday as truck operators repeat their demands for lower diesel prices. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Truck operators have given the government seven days to meet their demands, or they will intensify their protest on the roads.

The Land Transport Federation of Thailand brought about 50 heavy trucks to the Energy Ministry on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road on Tuesday to pressure the government to cap the diesel price at 25 baht per litre for one year.

The federation had made the demand last year, but the government stood firm at trying to limit the price to 30 baht a litre.

The diesel price was at 29.94 baht per litre on Tuesday. The government planned some measures to lower the price.

The big trucks started to arrive at the Energy Ministry about 9.30am. They occupied some lanes on the road near the ministry. Big trucks were moved from the vicinity of the ministry before 4pm. Traffic on Vibhavadi Rangsit was slow during the protest.

Apichart Prairungruang, president of the truck operators federation, said that they voiced their hardship from the high diesel price that resulted from an unfair oil price structure which favoured well-to-do groups.

He said that the government had cut the excise tax on oil to support airlines but had not done anything to help truck operators.

Actually the diesel price should have been at 21 baht per litre and truck operators disagreed with the content of expensive biodiesel in diesel.

"We stage a legal protest as a symbolic movement representing our members who have over 400,000 trucks. We do not want to cause trouble but just want to say what will happen if the transport system is stalled,” Mr Apichart said.

Truck operators asked the government to lower the excise tax on diesel to 0.10 baht per litre from 5.99 baht a litre, cut the marketing margin in the diesel price and suspend the biodiesel content in diesel for one year.

Mr Apichart said that his federation would escalate its protest unless the government responded positively to its demand in seven days.

Somboon Norkaew, deputy permanent secretary for energy, received a letter from the federation and said oil prices were rising because economic recovery caused energy consumption to increase in many countries and the fuel undersupply resulted in higher oil prices.

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