DHL Express, a division of the German logistics giant Deutsche Post DHL, had announced the launch of DHL SmarTrucking, last month. With this, DHL has entered India’s crowded digital trucking or logistics tech market, to provide an digital trucking solution across an extensive line-haul express road network in India.
DHL SmarTrucking is the company’s first official move to accelerate the development of technology-enabled logistics solutions around the world, under its newly formed board department, Corporate Incubations, which was launched in April this year.
Under this newly formed board department, DHL aims to build an Internet of Things (IoT) enabled owned fleet of 10,000 trucks within 10 years.
Following a successful 3-month pilot that covered over 2,770,000 kilometers, DHL SmarTrucking leverages IoT technology and data-driven insights for route optimization. This reduces transit times by up to 50 percent compared to the traditional trucking industry, and provides over 95 percent reliability with ease of use, end-to-end consignment visibility, temperature-controlled capabilities and real-time tracking.
IoT-enabled sensors monitored through the company’s centralized control tower provide real-time temperature and consignment tracking. Information alerts and status updates are also sent to customers and DHL SmarTrucking’s operations teams through the customer portal and external and internal mobile applications.
The company has also appointed Neeraj Bansal, as CEO of DHL SmarTrucking, who will be responsible for leading the company’s growth in India. Neeraj has earlier worked for many high profile firms including Google as Regional sales head, responsible for the sales of all Google products including Search, Display and Mobile; in Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd as CMO & Senior Vice President. He was also Chief Business Officer in IgniteWorld — a joint venture between Softbank Corp., Yahoo! Japan and Bharti Group.
“India is an incredibly important market for Deutsche Post DHL Group. Presently, road freight comprises the majority of the total freight movement and is the largest transportation segment in India,” says Juergen Gerdes, Board Member for Corporate Incubations, Deutsche Post DHL Group. “With greater efficiency from DHL SmarTrucking, we expect to transport 100,000 tonnes of cargo and cover a distance of approximately 4 million kilometers across India daily.”
Head-on with Other Logistics Startups in India
DHL SmarTrucking is the latest in a string of tech-enabled logistics startups looking to transform India’s highly fragmented trucking sector. It is estimated that, of about 12 million trucks plying the roads, 90% are owned by single operators.
According to industry sources, the global logistics market is currently estimated to be around $3.5 trillion. India spends around 14.4 percent of its GDP on logistics and transportation compared to less than 8 percent by the other developing countries.
The latest government forecast has valued the logistics industry at $215 bllion by 2020 — a 10.5% annual growth rate — it’s easy to see why investors are pouring money in startups in this sector.
There are at least a dozen logistics tech startups providing solutions designed to optimize pricing, payments and documentation and reduce empty truck miles. Two of the biggest funded startups are line-haul relay innovator Rivigo ($180m) and logistics marketplace Blackbuck ($107m).
Rivigo’s relay system allows it to reduce transit times by up to 70%, the company said, and reduce working hours for drivers. The start-up’s $50m funding round in January brought its value to $945m.
BlackBuck, on the other hand, is one of the largest FTL players in India, with its online marketplace model increasing truck availability to 95%, compared with the industry average of 70-80%, it claimed.
Other trucking platforms include FreightBazaar, FreightBro, Trukky, GoBOLT, LoBB, Mojro, 4TiGO and LogiNext, among others.
It may be recalled that in April 2016, DTDC or DTDC Express Limited, which one of the biggest competitor of DHL in India, had picked up 20% stake in logistics solutions startup Shipsy for an amount of over $1 million. Shipsy has flagship logistics management software that helps improve customer experience and reduce costs.