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Cargo meets carrier

Released at: 14:44, 26/05/2019

Cargo meets carrier

Photo: Viet Tuan

New logistics startup EcoTruck aims at making the industry more efficient and lowering overall costs.

by Ngoc Lan

After returning home from a long trip delivering goods in his truck, 39-year-old Mr. Huynh Van Luong in Hanoi’s Ha Dong district was quick to check if his company had received any new orders. There was one from Hanoi to Thanh Hoa city in northern Thanh Hoa province, but nothing coming back the other way, so he drove home in an empty truck. Even if there was a late order from Thanh Hoa, it would be difficult for him take it on. Mr. Luong is not the only driver facing this near-daily dilemma, which leads to a huge waste of transportation costs for businesses.

According to industry analysts, the lack of control over containers and trucks as well as cargo is behind Vietnam’s transport costs remaining so high.

To help the country logistics industry and so that businesses can keep costs in check, the EcoTruck (EcoSystem for Trucking) startup was launched as a new technology solution for the industry. It uses technology to make operations easier and more efficient, reducing costs. For those with cargo, instead of using the old shipping process, which takes time and resources, they only need to create an order once on the EcoTruck system and will receive an automatic notification immediately on the status of their order, which can be followed up anytime, anywhere. Many processes in the transport industry, such as container/truck booking, order processing, and delivery are performed automatically and intelligently with a high degree of accuracy.

Container/truck owners are screened and trained by EcoTruck before joining the system. Through EcoTruck’s technology, more orders will go directly to empty trucks and optimize efficiency of use. Drivers and system moderators are equipped with apps, on which they can update information continuously.

EcoTruck acts as an intermediary between those with cargo to ship and container/truck owners. By analyzing the system’s data, the app can propose the most suitable vehicle for transport and also determine the most optimal route. The system handles the operations process, managing both cargo owners and container/truck owners to ensure efficiency. In addition to information provided by the cargo owner and container/truck owner, there is also a 24/7 customer handling department, connecting information between the cargo owner and the driver.

Mr. Le Hoang Anh, Founder and CEO of EcoTruck, told VET that little has changed in Vietnam’s large cargo logistics market in the last 50 years. “EcoTruck is similar to Uber or Grab, but for large freight vehicles and container cargo,” he explained. “By applying technology to manage operations on a large scale and under an optimal economic model, EcoTruck will have a major impact on the structure of Vietnam’s logistics industry.”

EcoTruck was established in November 2017 and has faced its share of challenges. Compared to express delivery and the delivery of food and beverages, Mr. Anh said, not much investment in logistics has come from large investors. Meanwhile, many startups in the field in Vietnam are also seeking investment capital to develop. EcoTruck therefore made a great effort to identify its own development strategy, meeting the needs of the market and creating competition.
It does not have a logistics trading floor nor is it a brokerage. It is a logistics technology company, involved in the operation and management of orders. It can resolve all problems arising during shipping and, especially, 100 per cent of EcoTruck shipments have cargo liability insurance. It is also focusing on the full container load segment (FCL), and 100 per cent of partners are businesses (both cargo owners and container/truck owners).

Its efforts have paid off, with it receiving additional investment of $1.7 million in its Pre Series A funding round in late 2018. The funding has been used to strengthen the technology platform for logistics and transportation and to attract more talented personnel. As at April, EcoTruck was handling more than 3,500 container and truck trips of all sizes each month, earning revenue of VND14 billion ($630,000). More than 250 customers have now worked with EcoTruck, such as Vinafco, Draco, Sotrans, Tan Cat Lai Port, Gilimex, Phu My, Ton Hoa Sen, AceCook, and others.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam’s logistics market holds great potential and is recording rapid growth averaging 20-25 per cent each year. Increasing demand for imports and exports and retail goods will result in port volumes increasing to an estimated 900 million - 1 billion tons by 2030, driving the development of the logistics industry.

Mr. Anh sees that the local logistics market is currently receiving significant attention from many investment sources around the world. “This is a great opportunity for Vietnamese businesses, especially newly-established businesses that need capital to develop, like EcoTruck,” he said. “The goal for the next five years is to increase industry efficiency and cut logistics costs to 1 per cent of GDP, or about $2 billion.”

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