Road transport accounts for 4.8 per cent of India’s GDP. Roads provide a last mile connectivity to even the most remote places in India. More than 80 per cent of all logistics spending goes into the unorganized sector where trucks make up the bulk of good carriers. Despite the importance of trucking to the economy, a Deloitte report stated that in 2019, about 27 per cent of trucks were idle due to driver shortage and expected the numbers to hit 50 per cent by 2022.
Truck drivers have an important part to play in India. Their significance was highlighted during the two pandemic waves. A shortage of truck drivers and an even smaller number of drivers certified to handle and transport Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) tankers, hampered India’s ability to fight off the pandemic. In a bid to address such concerns, Shriram Transport Finance Company (STFC), India’s largest commercial vehicle financer, has teamed up with Skill India to train 1000 drivers for the same.
The training programme will be a part of STFC’s CSR initiative titled “Shriram Seva Sankalp LMO Driver Training” and will be conducted in partnership with Skill India. The objective will be to train 1000 heavy and medium vehicle drivers who can handle and transport cryogenic LMO tankers and streamline the LMO supply chain.
As part of the programme, trainees will familiarize themselves with the theory as well as experience hands-on practice in a simulator regarding the safe handling, loading and unloading of LMO tanks. They will also be taught about safety procedures and precautions to be taken while engaging in such work. The programme is expected to produce experienced drivers who will then form a pool of skilled talent to be used for the transportation of such supplies across the country.
After successful completion of the training programme, the trainee will be awarded a certificate by the Logistics Skill Council and will be deemed fit to carry out such operations as and when required. The whole initiative will be carried out by STFC through its partner, DB skills, in collaboration with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).
Umesh Revankar, VC & MD, STFC, drew attention to the need for skilled drivers in India. “Upskilling drivers and enabling them to be in tandem with the rising needs of the society is a cause that is close to our heart. Since the start of our CSR training program, over 10,000 candidates have been trained to drive heavy and light motor vehicle with ease,” he added.
Already more than 500 drivers have completed their training in January 2022, with the remaining 500 set to graduate by March 2022.