Traffic on highways will drop 16.5%, toll collection to go down by 13% in current fiscal: CRISIL

New Delhi: Traffic on the highways will go down by 16.5 percent in the current fiscal, taking the toll collection down by about 13 percent. 

Due to the current nationwide lockdown, the toll collections from build-operate-transfer (BOT) highway projects will go down heavily in the near term. 

NHAI had stopped toll collections up till 20 April, 2020. The collection restarted after this date but a V-shaped recovery is highly unlikely even when the lockdown ends. There will be slow recovery, according to CRISIL. 

If the lockdown is extended by another two weeks after 17 May, the toll collections will be lower by 17 percent in the current fiscal.

While the construction activity of new highway projects is also impacted, the highways completed in the past one year will help lower the rate of drop in collections by more than half.

In the long term of 2019-2024), CRISIL expects collections to bounce back to about 11-12 percent CAGR due to new constructions. But this will still be lower than the 14.6 percent growth in toll collections seen in preceding five fiscals.

The traffic growth on highways already operational as of 2019 is likely to be 3.0-3.5 percent CAGR in the fiscals 2019-2024. Without new highways construction in 2019-2024, the collections growth will be half of the expected rate of 11.0-12 percent. 

From the financial year 2022, the growth is likely to be quite strong. The execution work of highways should pick-up in financial year 2022 and make up for the loss of pace in the current fiscal.