In an exclusive interaction, People Matters spoke to Gaurav Biswas, Founder of TruKKer, to seek his insights on the freight sector in 2023.
Gaurav, along with Pradeep M, founded TruKKer in 2016 and is currently focused on disrupting the long-haul goods movement industry by addressing the key pain points with efficient use of technology, streamlined operations, and frictionless transactions.
What are your expectations for freight transportation in 2023?
We keep hearing a lot - the global financial crisis is slowly creeping its way into everything, and freight can't escape its fate. But it's too far-flung and even depressing right now to anticipate the ailing sides of any industry whatsoever.
What we can talk about are some trends:
M&A activity will push into 2023. Covid gave new heights of growth to logistics firms both in revenue and size, which rolled the eyes of various private equity firms. On a closer look, you will find especially the ones willing to invest in fast-growing companies – and owners seeking an exit when the valuations hit an all-time high.
More smart implementations and expansive offerings. Providing real-time significance and actionable output has been throwing a new frenzy into the mix - these firms realised, although late, modernisation is the name of the game. Besides reinforcing their solution suite, firms are also investing in world-class implementation.
Carrier cycles are normalising. It was a mad scramble for capacity, and the carrier cycles were abnormal during Covid. But now, you can expect a return to more normal cycles, and the freedom of choice of carriers.
Rise of platform-agnostic logistics models. We will see a continued increase in 4PL, 5PL, or 6PL freight forwarding logistics models. A lot more carriers will start offering services on third-party platforms, empowering shippers with a wider spectrum of options. Parallelly, freight forwarders will reap the benefits from increased business and a growing clientele of shippers.
How is hiring going in the industry? What jobs in the industry will be the hardest to fill this year?
Let's start with the culture shock that gave the hiring world a run for its buck. The 'Great Resignation' phenomenon symbolises the massive voluntary quitting of jobs. I'd say this has a shiny upside too. As in-demand workers left for more promising jobs and tangible work-life balance, the whole outlook toward responsibilities changed. It also flipped a company's approach toward employees – to get in the game, companies started offering adequate compensation and benefits packages. Naturally, gig work is claiming its stake amidst this self-realisation phase of jobseekers. Many are vouching for income-earning activities outside of traditional, long-term employer-employee relationships. Some maintained both jobs and this free market earning, which helped hone their skills faster.
I guess SMEs, IT, and mostly functional jobs are going to bear the brunt.
What changes are you seeing in the skills needed for this industry?
So, our industry is both famous and shady for being innately convoluted. Adding fuel to this fire is the emergence of deep tech, which calls for more complex actions - of course, all this to remediate the old problems. It's wise to say, we see the need for more cross-platform proficiencies that prompt multi-tasking and proactive decision-making. Analytical skill is also something, in which our industry thrives if we build the proper talent pipeline. Today's freight market requires a healthy mix of technology and functional expertise that ensures a smooth transition between the intermediary processes and promotes interoperability.
Do you see layoffs in e-commerce companies having an impact on the freight transportation and logistics sector?
My answer will be both no and yes. I think the most impacted are the hardcore industries. The most practical rationale is the immediate and post effects of Covid. We’ve seen over two years of exceptional growth in demand for goods. Companies scaled up as best as they could by hiring workers to help with that increase in demand and such, and now that things are beginning to ease off - the need dipped by itself.
How has DEI advanced in the freight and logistics sector in the last few years?
Ours is a pure play DEI in TruKKer. Right now, we stand at a 14% gender diversity quotient but as we’re spread across 10 countries – we’ve uniquely catered to gender, equality
TruKKer, being present in 10 countries and 3 continents thrives on a broader spectrum of diversity, equality, and inclusion – with 14% gender diversity. When our people come from different backgrounds, and different stories, we always see the problems through a new lens. The more diversified the workforce, the more impactful the solutions. Across our more than 23 stations, our open-door policies and sporty culture empower us to unlock the best within everyone from different parts of the world.
Personal safety remains an important concern for women in traditionally male-dominated environments such as shipping. How will you address this?
We know it's a man's world out there, especially in the logistics regime. But we love to call our women's team "One Woman Army." Our automation assumes larger responsibility when it comes to streamlining operations - right from onboarding trucks, to hauling, and track-and-trace.
So naturally, there is lesser human intervention against the common belief of being on-road or extensive paperwork that crowds the road freight. For our women leaders in different geographies, like Kazakhstan and Poland, our freight platform does the heavy lifting saving them from even the slightest chance to go out contest rates or oversee hauling ops.
Image source: Forbes