Dhaka-based digital trucking startup Truck Lagbe has slowly been delving into ancillary services for the trucking community aka truck drivers and owners with an ambition to build a platform for everything trucking in Bangladesh.
Over the last one and a half years, it has made meaningful progress in that direction with the launch of at least two ancillary services — GPS solution and insurance — for truck drivers and owners with a few more in the pipeline.
Truck Lagbe, founded in July 2017 by Anayet Rashid and Mir Hossain Ekram, operates an on-demand marketplace for trucking services serving businesses and consumers, and a brokerage serving larger companies. The company matches demand and supply for freight services, offers price transparency, real-time tracking of shipments, and maximizes truck utilization, driving efficiencies across the logistics value chain. In September 2021, Truck Lagbe raised $4 million in Series A funding to expand its platform and network.
Truck Lagbe always wanted to build a platform but it did not take any mentionable step towards that direction until recently. Last year, Truck Lagbe officially launched its GPS solution for truck owners and drivers without much fanfare. Today, Truck Lagbe is among the prominent GPS solution providers for truck owners.
Once the GPS solution found some traction, Truck Lagbe introduced, for the first time in Bangladesh without any precedence, an exclusive insurance policy for truck drivers in partnership with Guardian Insurance. The company has also been working on a few other services such as lubricants and tires scheduled for 2022.
These moves are likely to strengthen Truck Lagbe's moat for truck drivers and owners. A stronger relationship with truck owners and drivers will enhance Truck Lagbe's overall platform effect.
Truck Lagbe must ensure seamless supply as competition increases in this vertical, which is inevitable as the industry grows and digitization accelerates. Drivers are where supply begins and ends. Truck Lagbe has been working hard to build up its demand side to ensure a consistent deal flow on its platform for its driver-partners and owners. And it has been successful in doing it. Now, Truck Lagbe is giving drivers and owners more reasons to stick around by offering ancillary products and services.
Anayet Rashid, CEO of Truck Lagbe, in an interview with FS: "We strive to build an ecosystem for trucking where all services related to trucking will be under one umbrella. We aim to build an open ecosystem that will benefit all stakeholders. Through our system, we hope to help owners, drivers, brokers, and everyone in the trucking industry."
Truck Lagbe currently provides two ancillary services: GPS solution for trucks and insurance for truck drivers. Let’s take a closer look into these two services.
Truck Lagbe GPS Solution. Truck Lagbe wanted to provide a GPS tracking solution to its customers from its early days. The company finally started officially offering GPS solutions to its customers. TL GPS started small with only basic tracking features. The solution has since evolved both in terms of features and functionalities.
How does TL's GPS solution work? Instead of selling a GPS tracking device, Truck Lagbe’s GPS comes as a subscription service — users pay a one-time registration fee at the time of buying the solution and subsequently a monthly subscription fee. The registration fee covers the device cost, even though the device is more expensive. The company does not charge a full price for the device to make it affordable and encourage more people to use it.
Truck Lagbe offers two subscription packages: basic and standard. The basic package costs BDT 200/per month and the standard costs BDT 400/month. The per-device registration fee is BDT 1500, which includes the device cost. Both packages come with a long list of functionalities including basic tracking features.
For example, geo-fence alerts allow owners to create location-specific alerts. When a truck reaches or goes out from certain locations, the system sends you a notification. The device has other interesting features such as live tracking, live speed tracking, engine lock/unlock, 30 days travel history, location sharing, alert for speed and breaks, etc. The solution has seen meaningful growth in the past months.
Why is GPS technology relevant for Truck Lagbe? GPS adoption is important for Truck Lagbe for several reasons. It makes tracking and monitoring easier. Adds additional layers of security. Benefits everyone involved including shippers, drivers, and owners.
Many shippers prefer trucks with GPS. With the growing GPS adoption among its drivers, Truck Lagbe can now easily provide that. Drivers simply send a link to the shipper and they can track the truck in real-time.
Truck owners drive a ton of benefits. It enables truck owners to run their businesses more efficiently. In fact, Truck Lagbe targets truck owners. "We are designing the solution keeping in mind how a truck owner can benefit from this solution," says Al Amin, Marketing Manager of Truck Lagbe. "We are regularly adding features that will benefit our truck owners. Eventually, we want to take this product to something like a fleet management solution."
Businesses that have their own trucks and also use Truck Lagbe's service can use TL's GPS solution to manage their in-house fleet of trucks. So it is an important solution for all Truck Lagbe users.
Life insurance for truck drivers. Truck Lagbe introduced a life insurance product for truck drivers early this year. Truck drivers, registered on the Truck Lagbe app, can purchase a one-year life insurance policy by paying a one-time premium of BDT 450. Under the coverage, if a driver dies his family will get BDT 1 lakh and if the driver dies from an accident, his family will receive up to BDT 2 lakh from the insurance provider Guardian Life Insurance.
A dedicated life insurance policy for truck drivers is new in Bangladesh. Considering that truck drivers face a high risk of accidents, the facility makes sense and is likely to improve Truck Lagbe’s standing with its driver-partners.
How to buy these services from Truck Lagbe? Both services are available on the Truck Lagbe app. People can also buy these services from Truck Lagbe head office, call Truck Lagbe customer service (13303), or from Truck Lagbe branch office or service points across the country.
Traction of Truck Lagbe ancillary services. Truck Lagbe has seen excellent traction for its GPS solution and is growing every day. The company has been working continuously to grow its GPS solution. The effort is now paying off.
Truck Lagbe operates out of certain assumptions. For its ancillary services one such assumption is that since truck owners and drivers already use the Truck Lagbe app for trips and trust it, they will also purchase other truck-related products such as lubricants and tires or insurance, etc from Truck Lagbe. The growing adoption of its GPS solution validates this assumption.
While Truck Lagbe's GPS solution has seen growth, insurance is yet to take off as it is a new thing for the audience Truck Lagbe works with. There are reasons for that. Truck drivers are not generally exposed to the idea of insurance. Many of them don't see the need for insurance, which will make Truck Lagbe's job difficult. The company says there needs to be a phase where it can educate the trucking community about the benefit of having life insurance. And that with time it expects to see excellent growth in insurance as well.
Truck Lagbe aims to build a platform where people can find everything related to trucks. The company's stated mission indicates that direction. The company wants to completely transform the experience for the trucking community, not only truck users.
"We take it as our responsibility to make the lives of truck drivers and owners easier. To give you an indication of our ambition: we want to automate toll payment for our partners so that they do not need to stay in the queue for paying toll," explains Mr. Al Amin. "These services are part of that ambition. It will get clearer as we launch a few more services.”
The company has signed agreements with a few partners to launch other relevant products such as tires and lubricants in 2022.
Truck owners routinely face challenges finding authentic products such as lubricants and tires. The company says it can guarantee quality by working with authentic suppliers, and providing price benefits to its drivers and owner partners as the services grow.
This resembles what Truck Lagbe has done for its consumer app. "This is similar to our shifting services where we help our customers with home and office shifting," says Mr. Al Amin. "While providing trucking for all kinds of shifting, we came to see other support customers need to complete a proper shifting. So we launched one where we help customers not only with transportation but also with shifting itself. We have been perfecting the solution for a while now and will soon make it available on our shipper app. With the ancillary services, we are trying to do the same for our driver and owner partners where we provide them all the services they need."
Truck Lagbe started the GPS solution from scratch. It has since evolved and grown in both features and users. It has built operational necessities to run a GPS solution.
The road ahead Truck Lagbe is paved with challenges of building awareness and convincing truck owners to use its GPS solution. Competition from existing players who offer these devices can further complicate its growth ambition.
Its other product — insurance — also suffers from the same challenges. Education and awareness are two major challenges when it comes to insurance adoption. Insurance is always a hard sell. It is more so for the users TL works with.
Truck Lagbe says it is exploring different channels and is already reaping good results. The company has managed to achieve excellent traction for its GPS solution. While insurance service is still in its early days, the company is already hard at work educating the trucking community regarding the importance of life insurance. It should not take long before it catches up.
Truck Lagbe sees ancillary services will require a strong distribution leg. The company has started building service points across Bangladesh to support its expansion. It currently has 6 branches and plans to take it to 26 by the end of 2022. One of the roles of these points will be to work as delivery and inquiry hubs for ancillary services.
On the services side, Truck Lagbe eyes to launch tires and lubricant in early 2022.
Truck Lagbe considers itself as an aggregator. For Truck Lagbe, truck owners, drivers, truck-related utility sellers, shippers, and everyone else in the universe of trucking are its potential users. Owning the interaction with truck owners, drivers and shippers is the admission for getting there. Once this nod is done, the rest is bound to follow.
From the outside, Truck Lagbe is a two-sided marketplace that connects truck owners and shippers. However, closer attention reveals more. The list of stakeholders is long. For clarity, there are owners, drivers, and shippers — these three are obvious users. Then over time, service providers, utility and product sellers, and so on will take interest in the platform. The beauty of a platform is that, in the beginning, you are essentially building an infrastructure. Once the infrastructure is ready, you can decide how you want to reap the benefits without destroying it.
Today, over 80,000 truck owners and drivers are registered on the Truck Lagbe platform serving thousands of customers daily. Truck Lagbe's technology platform empowers truck owners, enables them to find freight jobs, improves their income and efficiency. The company has already expanded its services across Bangladesh. Naturally, it wants to acquire more drivers, expand its platform and widen its logistics network.
Adding ancillary services — GPS solutions, fuel, tires, lubricants, insurance, and other relevant products — for truck owners and drivers will not only help expand its business but also allow the company to further market power, build a competitive moat while also offering new growth avenues.