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Aijaz Hussain

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How does the future look for Pakistan’s Trucking Industry?

The development of the logistics and transport infrastructures of a country create the platform for sustainable long-term economic growth and provide the country a competitive advantage globally. Pakistan’s national freight transport is predominantly carried out through the country’s road network; according to a study in 2016, the figure quoted was 96%. The lack of an efficient rail network has skewed most transport towards the trucking sector, which too suffers from old inefficient vehicles and fragmented supply. 

Pakistan’s inland domestic road routes amount to a total distance of 264,000 km which includes national highways, motorways, expressways, and other important strategic roads. While the trucking industry is still seen as a small segment that constitutes the bigger logistics industry as a whole, the role it plays is significant. Hence, efficiencies and optimization in the space can lead to large savings and value creation. 

Bringing in reforms and upgrading the trucking sector with the efficient matching of transporters and corporates will help create significant value across the board. Pakistan’s trucking sector is characterized by small independent operators (with 1-3 vehicles) driven by family members, whilst larger organized fleet operators remain scarce. According to statistics, there are over 300,000 trucks that are currently operating in Pakistan, but most of these are in poor conditions and often face breakdown and maintenance delays.  Despite these barriers and hindrances, Road transport still remains instrumental in transporting goods within the country as it constitutes 1.64 million PKR of Pakistan’s overall GDP. The Government is working on truck financing programs to help these operators upgrade and maintain their vehicles but accessibility is limited. And with CPEC kicking into full gear additional capacity creation is essential in the trucking sector. 

While the trucking sector does face structural and financing challenges, it is clear that it remains integral to the transportation of goods and hence the economy. Large capacity build-up in supply (trucks) is unlikely in the near-term and therefore route optimization, backload efficiency, and digital load matching are important for transparency and execution. Digitization is termed by many as the broad solution in optimizing the trucking sector, and due to this, many startups such as Trukkr, are seeking innovative solutions to serve this basic necessity for both transporters and corporates.

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