Logistics and supply chain startup Trukkin sees enormous growth prospects for its business across the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan (Menap) and it will expand its operations in its three core markets in the region, its top official says.
Janardan Dalmia, founder and chief executive of Trukkin, said the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are three potential growth markets for his startup in the coming few years.
“We serve almost 13 countries in the Menap region but our immediate focus is to continue to increase our penetration into the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and naturally expand to the rest of Middle East abd North Africa,” Dalmia told Khaleej Times in an interview.
Dalmia, a former banker, is an experienced finance professional involved with investing and organising capital raising for private equity and venture capital deals. He set up Trukkin in 2017 to digitise the process of matching shippers with truckers to bring about transparency, reliability and efficiency to the logistics industry. The logistics platform also works towards building fintech solutions for payments, insurance and financial services.
The Middle East and Pakistan-based logistics platform, which recently raised Dh26 million ($7 million) in a Series A funding round, said the estimated size of the Menap logistics industry is $50 billion and Trukkin is in a good position to expand its operation here.
“We have more than 15,000 trucks that are registered with us and we will continue to service through them across all our geographies,” Dalmia said.
“Trukkin serves almost a couple of hundred corporate clients at the moment. We have moved everything from chickens to houses, so the scope of growth and expansion is massive for our business.”
Exploring the Pakistani market
Dalmia said Pakistan is a very promising growth market for logistics service providers and Trukkin will capitalise on potential business opportunities in the country.
“Pakistan is a very massive opportunity, as we know it’s a $25 billion market in a most conservative approximation. When you see the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and other major infrastructure development in the country, the logistics market will continue to increase,” he said.
Trukkin has grown three times since the onset of the pandemic and scaled into Pakistan in mid-2020, becoming the first mover and the leading logistics platform in the country while growing its business in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and serving 12 countries in the broader Middle East.
“The business will continue to increase in the GCC region. The logistics market is massive because, as we all know, the route connectivity is very, very crucial for transportation of goods between countries,” he said.
“I’m very hopeful and very optimistic and bullish that logistics business will continue to grow, and even if you look at the government vision in Saudi Arabia and the UAE or wherever, logistics always plays a very key role in the development of a country’s economy... the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are all our homes; you can say we have a three-country home market. All three countries are very buoyant for us, we are very bullish and that’s the reason we call all three countries our home,” he added.
Trukkin market share
To a question about the potential market share across the Menap region, Dalmia said it is very hard to predict the percentage pie considering the stiff competition.
“If you look at even the largest aggregator in India or other places, they probably control less than one per cent of the overall requirement. We understand for example that India is a very huge market; even when you look around in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, there are thousands of transporters. But we are a techno-logistics platform and capturing a few percentage points itself in the logistics market is like massive,” he said.
“It’s very hard to quantify the market share, but that being said, we look at ourselves as one of the leading companies moving one of the largest volumes of road transportation in these countries where we operate,” he added.
He said Trukkin is a techno-logistics aggregator whereby for a customer it provides transportation services while for transporters the startup act as an enabler.
“There are so many truck drivers that come from India, Pakistan and neighbouring countries who drive and want to earn a dignified living for the hard work they do. We want to provide them with a platform like what Uber and Careem did with taxi drivers to earn an honest living and grow in their business. We are in that middle lair where we act as a platform enabling shippers and truck drivers to get the best transportation services,” Dalmia elaborated.
Dalmia said Trukkin also provides payment solutions to the logistics service providers.
“If you look at the truck driver market, there is a huge amount of cash payments that are required on a daily basis. These is usually the unbanked sector; even if you look at Pakistan and the Middle East, these are guys who own one or two trucks, they are not as literate as others and less organised.”
“You know how governments and countries want to move towards a cashless economy; we are building products to which instead of paying cash we can pay them digitally, which is more secured, more tracked and more information is provided, and once you pay someone digitally, there are many things that can be built around the ecosystem to support the journey of that person with the money,” he said.
He said anything that will support the ecosystem of a transporter or customer, “we want to be part of it”.
“We are totally not a threat; we are an opportunity. As I always say, we are not a disruptor, but an enabler. We are not a threat to anyone; in fact, if anything, we are enabling them to work appropriately and properly and provide their services legitimately. We are actually the positive opportunity for them,” he said.
“We are optimising resources, we are increasing asset utilisation, we are reducing unnecessary traffic and wastage of resources. All these truck drivers, before they did not have a large company to back them or platform to which they could work, now they can work through us in a much more organised manner,” he added.
“We provide them not only with guaranteed payments but also an increased number of loads, which ultimately helps them to earn more. If the truck drivers are going to one country to another, obviously they do not have the loads from other countries to come back; we provide them back load services as well, which ultimately increases their earnings and reduces their wastage of their ideal time. It also gives them flexibility to work per their convenience.”
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