The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is going to invest US$ 2.5 million in ‘Truck Lagbe’, a digital trucking platform, in a bid to connect people and corporate customers with truck owners and drivers through an app and a website in the country.
The services of ‘Truck Lagbe’ are helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to sustain, and also supporting livelihoods during the pandemic, according to a press release issued on Monday.
The IFC has partnered with ‘Truck Lagbe’, a leading digital trucking platform, to help expand its services and maintain critical supply chains, especially for delivering food and essential items during Covid-19, it said.
‘Truck Lagbe’ is used to book short-haul and long-haul freight trips, with trucks of different sizes, across all 64 districts in Bangladesh. It is one of the largest e-logistics platforms in Bangladesh catering for over 43,000 unique shippers, with over 20,000 registered trucks.
By leveraging technology, the company matches demand and supply for freight services, offers price transparency, real-time tracking of shipments through GPS technology and maximises truck utilisation, driving efficiencies across the logistics value chain, which reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
"As traditional methods became inaccessible during the Covid-19 pandemic, ‘Truck Lagbe’ became the go to platform for thousands of small businesses and truck owners for hiring trucks. This helped them to continue their business," said Anayet Rashid, ‘Truck Lagbe’ co-founder and CEO.
"We are very excited to have IFC as a partner which has already invested in similar startups in other countries," he said.
This will help us to expand in every district of Bangladesh along with bringing in various support services to facilitate everyone to move from the fragmented and unorganised local market to our tech driven logistics platform, Anayet Rashid added.
Transport and logistics services have faced severe financial stress and job losses due to the impact of Covid-19. Digital platforms such as ‘Truck Lagbe’ offer the opportunity to support economic recovery by improving transport connectivity, facilitating trade flows and generating additional income and productivity gains in supply chains.
"It is crucial for Bangladesh, which aims to become a middle-income country over the next decade, to have an efficient transport infrastructure and logistics services, which not only provides more support for the shipment of goods during the pandemic, but can also help transport exports to markets," said Nuzhat Anwar, IFC's acting country manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.
In addition to its financing, IFC is providing the company with knowledge and innovative support by leveraging insights from previous investments and will be connecting ‘Truck Lagbe’ to more prospective clients, the IFC official said.
The transport and logistics services market in Bangladesh has a value of US$ 15 billion (PwC 2018), equivalent to 6.8 per cent of GDP (gross domestic product). IFC's investment will support the expansion of the ‘Truck Lagbe’ operations, help widen the logistics network in the Bangladesh market, and support the expansion of value-added services for truck owners through the sale of fuel, tyres and lubricants.
‘Truck Lagbe’s technology platform empowers small truck owners by displaying their available trucks and price quotations, as well as easy access to market information, enabling truck owners to find freight jobs, improve their income and more effectively utilise their trucks.
The Dhaka-based company ‘Truck Lagbe’ won the 'Startup Challenge 2017' competition in 2017, organised by the Information and Communication Technology Division.