By Lee Kah WhyeSingapore, Aug 10 (ANI): Singapore-based logistics start-up Ezyhaul believes that technological innovation, specifically digital technology which increases efficiencies, provides clients with valuable data for planning and route optimisation, will give it the edge as it enters the Indian market.
Founded by Raymond Gillonwho is also the CEO, Nicky Lum (Directory of Sales) and Mudasar Mohamed, the COO, who is also a native of Bengaluru, it started operations in Malaysia in 2016. It is now in four countries - Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and India. The three founders are logistics veterans who met during their stints at Danish global transport and logistics company UTi Worldwide.
After hearing first-hand from clients about the challenges of the fragmented trucking industry, the trio decided to start their own firm which has been variously described as "Uber for trucks". The technology they employ gives freedom of choice to the marketplace - both the shipper and carrier - and the security and convenience of a digital freight forwarder.
Ezyhaul's platform allows shippers to make easy online bookings for domestic and cross-border transportation services. They are then matched with transportation companies who use Ezyhaul's app to accept shipments. The online platform also provides a real-time tracking system for the shipments, and access to electronic documentation and e-PODs (proof of delivery).
In his 2017 comments to The Star newspaper in Malaysia, CEO Gillon said that it was common for lorries to ply the roads with half loads and their return trips were often empty but if they register with Ezyhaul, the transportation companies would have better load utilisation.
The main reason for this inefficiency is poor matching of supply and demand. Truck owners have no way of filling the empty space unless, by some coincidence, a customer calls them before the truck returns to their home base. Ezyhaul helps transportation companies maximise vehicle utilisation and reduce empty backhauls.
Currently, they claim to have over 30,000 trucks registered with them in the Southeast Asian market.
India, which Ezyhaul has set their sights on is an entirely different kettle of fish.
According to the publication Freightwaves, the Indian freight market was estimated to have grossed over USD 130 billion in revenue in 2018. This is projected to reach USD 300 billion by 2020.
India is a huge market. The Ministry of Road and Transportation estimates that there are about 12 million trucks in India. However, despite the many innovations, the transportation industry remains fragmented.
Although on the surface India seems to be an attractive market, challenges abound.
First of all, it is a very price-sensitive market with thin margins. Furthermore, trucking costs in India are disproportionately high compared with developed countries due to higher diesel prices, poor vehicle maintenance, overloading of trucks as well as traffic problems. Inadequate infrastructure exacerbates matters.
Driver resourcing is another issue. Recruiting skilled and responsible drivers is difficult. There are many instances of reckless driving and indifference to freight safety. Driver turnover is also high with many younger drivers seeking alternative careers due to the difficult and tough working conditions.
As it enters the market, Ezyhaul is faced with two larger, better established, India-based logistics rivals, Rivigo, and Blackbuck, who are doing about the same thing. However, Ezyhaul believes there's room for more, saying that 95 percent of the industry is disorganised and that it presents an opportunity it does not want to ignore.
The logistics start-up has plans to cover 10 cities in the Northwest and Southern Corridors and is keen to work with SMEs. It has currently signed up with 6,000 truckers in India and will work with long-haulage trucks (which carry tonnage of more than 16 tonnes and going up to 50 tonnes).
The company, which has 40 people on its India team, is currently contemplating setting up an RD centre in the country which will grow and over time become larger than its existing tech centre in Malaysia.
Last month, Ezyhaul announced that it closed a USD 16 million Series B round of funding from an unnamed strategic investor. This will enable it to expand into Indonesia and the Philippines by the end of the year. CEO Gillon told DealStreetAsia that the fresh capital will be used to further drive Ezyhaul's technological innovation to offer a complete "plug and play" model for its clients.
It raised USD five million in its Series A round in 2018. That money was used to reinforce its presence in its then current markets of Singapore and Malaysia and also allowed it to expand its operations into India and Thailand as well as to establish an integrated a cross-border solution that stretches from China to Singapore.
In the past 12 months, Ezyhaul'srevenue has grown more than 900 percent. Last year, its platform managed more than 50 million kilogrammes of freight across Singapore, India, Malaysia and Thailand. Its client base includes Coca Cola, Reliance Industries, On-Semi, Flipkart, DHL, and DB Schenker. (ANI)