A Truck Owner’s Life

There are approximately 15 lakh truck owners in India. Most of them have small fleets of 1 to 3 trucks. These truck owners are under constant stress to make ends meet. Most of them have monthly instalments to pay off the loans they’ve taken to buy their trucks. In addition, their margins are razor thin! More than 90% of what they earn per trip goes into the following costs- EMIs, fueling, tolls, driver salaries, maintenance, RTO, GPS and more. And that’s when they get a “good” load to begin with. Most times, truck owners struggle to find these “good” loads to keep their trucks running.

Now, what does a “good load” mean to a truck owner? A good load is one whose:

This has led to the title for this article- ‘Bhai, load hai kya?’ the most common utterance for a truck owner in India. Which translates to- ‘Brother, do you have a load for me?’
Most brokers in India have khatiyas/charpais/cots for truck owners/drivers to rest as they wait for their next load

If the truck owner can’t find a good load for his truck, his truck lies idle and he loses money. And even if he does find a good load, unforeseen costs (long delays at loading/unloading, damages to goods, etc) sometimes force him to even make losses on trips!

The trucking sector is a crucial cog in the Indian logistics sector and in effect, the Indian economy and GDP. That makes our truck owners & drivers unsung heroes of our nation. But as we’ve just seen, being a truck owner in India is not an easy task by any means. After all the struggles to find the right loads (at the right prices) and minimise costs, whatever is left at the end of the month needs to cover the cost of servicing the EMIs, or else the truck owner needs to dip into his savings.

The Truck Owner - Broker Bond

Since time immemorial, truck owners across India have relied heavily on lakhs of transporters/brokers to help them find relevant loads. Not only do these brokers help connect truck owners with good loads, they also provide several value added services to these truck owners:

This ensures that brokers and truck owners have extremely close working relationships - one built on trust & familiarity. Most of these bonds go beyond decades  and brokers are treated as friends and family by truck owners. A truck owner meets new brokers only through referrals shared by family and friends.
In India, moving loads via trucks requires a ton of paperwork! Luckily brokers come to the rescue in this and more

With these thoughts, it does seem like the ride for truck owners in India is pretty smooth, but there's a caveat - and a pretty big one! The biggest problem is that each broker has very limited visibility on the available demand. And because a truck owner usually maintains close relationships (and trust) only with few brokers- the funnel narrows further! This leads to truck owners facing several challenges like:

  • High downtimes with trucks idling, just waiting for the right loads
  • Hesitance of truck owners to explore new routes (since their current broker networks might not have demand on those lanes)
  • Hesitance of truck owners to explore new brokers (since one needs a warm introduction to connect with trustworthy brokers)
  • Not being able to explore and seek out the best prices in the market

On the other hand, brokers have challenges finding truck owners outside of their trusted network. This leads to them not being able to fulfil their load requirements on time and at the best price.

The lack of modernization in this industry, along with the perennial dhool (read dust) on Indian highways has led to the trucking industry earning the moniker of the ‘dhool-mitti’ industry!
The life of these truckers is quite challenging- they have to cook and rest on the dusty highways of India

BlackBuck shakes up the ‘dhool-mitti’ industry

As you can very well imagine- a marketplace that aggregates demand (loads from brokers) on one side and supply (trucks from truck owners) on the other side, would lead to massive efficiencies and value addition for both sides:

  • BlackBuck runs exactly such a marketplace to connect 1000s of verified brokers with lakhs of verified truck owners- helping maximise revenue for truck owners and keeping their trucks running.
  • BlackBuck also sells fastag (toll cards), fuel cards, GPS and credit solutions to minimise the cost for truck owners and providing the maximum bang for buck!
  • Incorporated in 2015, BlackBuck aims to create products and provide services that generate maximum value for the truck owners. We ensure the truck owner is able to make maximum profit from their business and allow these hard working truck owners and drivers get the life & respect they truly deserve.

For more information- check out this video as well!