While the ongoing pandemic situation has hit almost all legacy sectors, logistics and transportation are one of the worst affected sectors out of all of them. Although there is an overwhelming demand for the delivery of essential items, they only make up to about 15 to 20 per cent of the country's logistics output.
This translates into the fact that close to 80 per cent of the logistics has come to a screeching halt. Adding to that fact, India’s logistics industry is pegged to be worth $120 billion and includes 40 lakh trucks, as stated by a survey conducted by ASSOCHAM.
The sudden nosedive in the movement of goods, especially non-essentials, has triggered some serious ripples, affecting the entire trucking industry as a whole.
Providing the much-needed spark to the sector
As the entire packers-and-movers industry has come to a standstill, the biggest challenge that has impacted trucking business is the unwillingness of the truckers or hired drivers to be back on the roads.
The entire trucking industry functions on the Indian highway network spanning across a few lac kilometres. However, due to the COVID-19 threat, 70,000 fuel pumps who depend on trucks for revenue have been shut down. Eateries are no exception as well. Drivers themselves are scared about contracting the virus.
Consequently, to provide the much-needed spark to the ailing logistics sector, BlackBuck has launched the "Move India" campaign that is aimed at reviving the supply chain amidst the pandemic situation.
The startup, based at Bengaluru plans to use its technology and network of truckers and transports and is focussing on enabling more than 5 lac fleet owners with more than 10 lac trucks to discover demand for goods other than essential products and provide them access to services such as FASTag, GPS, Fleet Card (Fuel Card) and more.
It also plans to extend its platform and waive the required commission to 20,000 small-scale transporters, wholesalers and distributors who are not a part of the BlackBuck ecosystem yet. It has launched a helpline for one-call bookings which will be functional over the next few months.
From the manufacturer and trader’s perspective, produced goods can start moving if Blackbuck’s platform is availed, which will provide the lowest booking prices for the transportation of the goods.
Reinforcements for the initiative
For starters, BlackBuck has decided to completely waive off commission to encourage truckers to get back on the road and resume operations without having to worry about extra expenditures.
The company is also providing an added incentive of INR 2,000 to 3,000 to fleet owners for every trip they undertake. For the large fleet owners, the incentive amount runs into lacs- which is enough to encourage them to resume full-fledged operations.
The initiative also includes taking up responsibility for the health and welfare of drivers by setting up a relief fund worth INR 50 crore if any driver contracts COVID-19 while on duty. It has promised to offer a relief package worth INR 50,000 through direct money transfer to the affected driver-partners. It has also launched a free helpline for the affected drivers to reach out to the company if help is needed.
In addition to that, on every trip undertaken, the initiative will also provide free trip insurance inclusive of hospitalisation expenses worth INR 50,000and a term cover worth INR 3 lac in case of a demise caused by an accident or in case of permanent disability.
Blackbuck has over four lakh partners relying upon their platform, which provides logistic services all over India- spanning across 500 districts and 400 industrial hubs. It has over 30,000 clients- from SMEs to corporate giants such as Asian Paints, ITC, Coca Cola, HUL and Tata Steel.
The company realises that not only there is a need of a fresh lease of life to the ailing logistics sector, there is also an urgent need to ensure the financial security of the blue-collar workers, including the truck drivers who form the backbone of India's economy, by resuming operations. T hopes that the newly-launched initiative will provide the kickstart the sector requires right now.