Beginner's Guide 3: Support Services of the Trucking Industry
Published On Aug 19, 2016
After the first and second Beginner’s Guide, which dealt with the major transportation mediums in India and core elements of the trucking industry respectively, we now bring to you the support services that keep the trucking industry going.
We already discussed about the huge number of goods vehicles plying on Indian roads (8.1 million by March 2013). The onus of keeping these many numbers of vehicle up and running, even under the most adverse conditions, rests on support services. Thus, apart from the major players such as manufacturers, fleet owners, brokers and body makers, the trucking ecosystem is ruled by a number of services that help in the smooth movement of cargo and keep our transportation industry on its toes.
Maintenance and Repair
Unlike the early days when maintenance and repair was an unorganized, uncordinated sector, manufacturing companies are now providing AMCs to vehicles for the first few years. However, as 34 percent of the trucks plying in India are more than 10 years old, they mainly rely on roadside repair for emergencies and fall back on their fleet owners for maintenance.
Food and Stay
In several countries including the United States, truck stops catering to professional long haul drivers are a common sight. However, in India, the most reliable and convenient spots for trucks to break for the day are the ‘dhabas’, ever present on every Indian highway. With changing times, apart from providing food and shelter, dhabas have also extended their services such as providing repair facilities at a cheaper cost. Also, truck drivers moving on the same route several times collaborate with specific dhabas, thus turning into clients from customers.
Insurance for cargo was not organized until a few years back. But now a days, several freight companies provide cargo services with insurance options. However, all manufacturers provide insurance of cargo vehicles which can be renewed from time to time. Even then, several individuals today choose to opt out of goods’ insurance during transit. As the Carriage by Road Act of 2007 holds the carrier (cargo companies) responsible for the safety of the cargo, any untoward accident leads to conflicts between the different parties involved.
With changing times, IT services are increasing playing an important role in management of the trucking industry. GPS helps the fleet owner or cargo company keep a tab on the movement of trucks. Telematics is another great technological advancement that helps the vehicle in stay connected while on the move. IT is also crucial for several automation tasks such as accounting, resource planning and management of goods and vehicles.
Several financing services such as commercial vehicle financers, non-banking financing services, and even money lenders are involved in the purchase of commercial vehicles.
Truck unions/associations are currently used for lobbying for rights in the trucking industry. However, they form a strong union and can be greatly used by the government as a catalyst for sharing best practices, setting standards, and bringing in more discipline and professionalism among drivers.