Road freight transport i.e., the trucking industry, is related to the economic development of the country as it connects different regions of the country, opening them to trade and integrating them with the mainstream economy.
However, the industry's highly unorganised nature hampers the economic development of the country.
According to experts, the most important factor affecting the efficiency of road freight transport is that it is run mostly by the private operators, most of whom own single truck. Transporters with fleets smaller than five trucks account for over two-thirds of the total trucks owned and operated in India and make up 80 percent of revenues.
Illiyaz Mohammad overheard his friend, a transporter, complaining about the existing issue in the industry over the phone. He discussed the various issues plaguing the industry with his transporter friend and the hassles it causes to all the parties involved: operators, drivers, booking agents and brokers.
So, Illiyaz, who has over 11 years of experience in the software industry and who was working with Amazon, decided to enter the industry. He set up a transport office to become a part of the industry, understand the ground issues and then solve it.
During this time, he met Gouri Patil, an MBA, who had over six years of experience in the logistics industry and her own logistics company. The duo shared the concern for the industry and the idea to offer a full-stack solution.
In May 2016, they launched Truckkers, an online trailer transportation platform with pan-India network.
After a few months of the launch, the third cofounder Naveed Ahmed, 35, an IIT Kanpur dropout also joined the company.
The platform was formed with an intention to revolutionise the intercity trailer transportation.
“We are a niche player in this category. When others were offering solutions by aggregating trucks on the platform, we thought of offering solutions in trailer segment. We take orders of the transportation of steel engineering materials, tankers and heavy machines,” says 37-year-old Illiyaz.
Among their services, Illiyaz notes that Truckkers also offers transparent pricing, best pricing, customer support, periodical updates, vehicle tracking.
It is currently headquartered in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh and soon plans to set up its own transport hubs in other parts of the country as well. “Being from Kurnool, I have local contacts here. Besides, the office is on Andhra-Telangana border, which is a good point for data collection. We have an office in Hyderabad and are planning to set up base in Chennai and Bengaluru as well,” says Illiyaz.
Illiyaz and Gouri, who started out the business with an investment of Rs 20 lakh, have adopted a commission-based model for the business. Truckkers raises business for trailers from different clients and charges a particular commission from the former.
With the team of 10 people, the startup has served over 200 clients in three months’ time. It has a pan India network of over 1,500 trailers.
Some of their corporate clients include Vijay Engineering, Rayalaseema Alkalies, Welspun Renewable Energy, Bharat Agro (Mahindra Tractors), NSL Mining Corporation, Uranium Corporation of India and others.
There is great inefficiency in inter-city operations, lack of data for efficient planning, lack of use of technology, and no consideration of urban freight mobility in planning of smart and future cities.
Illiyaz says when he entered into the industry he faced issues like lack of transparency, accountability, commitment, customer support system, skilled drivers and efficient ecosystem. Coming from a very different industry and professional background, he had initially found it difficult to address these issues.
“However, our aim was to organise the sector and weed out all the issues which were hampering the growth,” says Illiyaz.
The startup is looking to raise funding to expedite the expansion process and offer those solutions to the industry.
Experts say that roadway logistics is a $150-billion industry in India, of which $30 billion is the last-mile delivery.
Logistics segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.17 percent by 2020, according to market research firm Research and Markets.
There is a lot of interest in this sector from the investor side as well. Last year, logistics marketplace The Porter raised Rs 35 crore from Sequoia, Kae Capital and others. Blowhorn had raised a seed fund from Unitus Feed fund in November 2014.