OPINION

Time to liberalize road haulage

Tanker truck drivers are not just blackmailing society; they are breaking the law. They are not just striking – as is their right – but are using force to block the transportation of gasoline and other products by privately hired vehicles. What’s worse is that the state is not only tolerating it, but tacitly inciting it too. The road haulage sector is closed and tightly knit, which is why the state will not allow free competition. What we therefore have is a quasi-monopoly: Haulage rates are fixed every year by the ministry and it is up to the truck owners to decide whether they will accept them or whether they will hold the country hostage. We can only hope that the dispute between the government and the tanker truck owners will end soon. The consumers, though, will nevertheless remain at the mercy of the quasi-monopoly, because the government’s practice of setting haulage rates boosts the Consumer Price Index by 0.2-0.3 percentage points every year. It is, therefore, time for the market to be liberalized.