During the NIPP challenge in June 2019, I met a start-up whose founder a passionate engineering student from Bhopal was keen on solving the freight issues faced by agriculture and MSMEs. And he seems to be solving it with his freight mobility application ‘Easyport’, which was launched in February 2019.
This young student entrepreneur is Atharva Kulkarni, founder of SmartUp, whose EasyPort app is trying to solve the truck booking (freight) problems for agriculture and MSMEs in tier 2, 3 & 4.
The Indian Freight Market
In India, road remains the most preferred mode of travel despite its notional cost disadvantage, considering it is more reliable compared to rail and waterways.
Though the demand for road freight is high and increasing, on the supply side the market is highly fragmented with numerous small players, which gives rise to high level of operational inefficiencies, making it relatively expensive and inefficient.
Lack of Efficient Agricultural Logistics in India
Efficient logistics becomes an even bigger challenge in case of agricultural produce which is a waste if it does not reach its destination on time.
- Notably, OECD countries lose 2% to 3% of the agricultural products during shipment, while that share of loss in much higher in case of developing countries which lose up to 25%1.
- In case of India this share is even higher with 40%1 of agricultural production being wasted in the supply chain.
Thus, an efficient logistics system can benefit farmers in a big way as it would help in reduction in loss and wastage of produce during transportation to markets. Moreover, reducing this wastage could both provide an income boost to farmers and also lower overall prices for produce, creating better access to high quality food for Indian citizens.
The ‘EasyPort’ Solution
Atharva Kulkarni is trying to solve for these inefficiencies in the freight process through its app EasyPort, which uses platform as a service approach to empower existing transport agencies to remove the operational hassles from the entire system. Moreover, the company claims that it ensures load tracking and makes insurance available at a very cheap rate. Also, what makes the solution stand apart is the company’s satellite based tracker which never goes offline, making the whole tracking process more reliable.
As per Atharva, “Though the app is still to upload on Google play, it’s already a 5.0 as we have upgraded the app each time we got any feedback. Currently, we are working only in Madhya Pradesh and will slowly move outside as and when we find the right partners – as the focus is on recurring customers. Also, we see good amount of traction among the gen 2 farmers who are fairly tech savvy and support tech applications like ours”
The company plans to file a patent for the tracker soon and claims that the app is gaining traction and has added 20 happy customers in tier 3 cities, since its launch in February this year. Also, till June 2019 it had:
- Added 600 verified trucks
- Raised over INR19 lacs of bills
- INR40 lacs worth of total load, of which goods worth over INR7 lacs was insured load
In my words I saw the current Easyport app as “Technology simplified for Good use” while for Atharva he aims to grow this from “One click truck booking” to “Complete logistics solution in a pocket” with plans to add every segment of logistics in their offering!!
More such startup stories which are working towards solving the urban mobility challenges in NASSCOM’s upcoming report “Making Urban Mobility – Seamless, Sustainable and Safe”