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With Venture Capitalist Funding Stoking Digital Brokerage Solutions That Improve Trucking Efficiency by Minimizing Empty Miles, Truck Brokerage Digitization to Grow at CAGR 33.6% Between 2017–2025
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Empty miles account for about 40-30% of all trips made by commercial trucks globally. This translates to fuel waste, non-productive emissions, wasted driver hours, inflated operational costs as well as unnecessary road congestion. Empty miles are primarily on account of empty-back hauls due to the inherent opacity and slowness of the traditional road-freight brokerage process. Digital brokerage solutions- whether load boards or automated-on-demand solutions, popularly referred to as ‘Uber for Trucks’, have tremendous potential to solve the problem of empty miles. Frost & Sullivan’s study “K252-18: Global Digital Freight Brokerage Market Opportunities, Forecast to 2025” examines the potential that digital brokerage solution have till 2025. Reduction in empty miles translates to reductions in transportation costs, emissions, traffic congestion while improving fleet profitability and driver wellness. A slew of technology start-ups focused on road-freight brokerage are being well-funded by the venture capitalists community. In 2017 alone, funding for digital brokerage solutions crossed $1 Billion across regions. The trend has kept up in 2018 with the following being some of the top news-making investments in digital freight brokerage companies: • $1.9 Billion investment by Softbank, Google and others in Manbang Group, China in April 2018• $60 Million investment in Series D round of funding for CragoX, Brazil in August 2018 • $185 Million Series C round of funding in Convoy, The United States in September 2018 • $27 Million Series D round of funding in Blackbuck, India in October 2018 Mergers and acquisitions have also been rife in this industry with Chinese digital brokerage rivals Yunmanman and Huochebang merging in November 2017 to create Manbang group, valued at over $2 Billion. Traditional logistics and brokerage companies have also sought to tap into the digital economy with UPS shelling nearly $2 Billion to acquire Coyote Logistics, The United States in 2015 and then went on to acquire Freightex, Europe in 2017 to expand its digital brokerage coverage. However, digital brokerage solutions are yet to be whole heartedly embraced by fleets across regions with instances of strong resistance/ backlash even being reported. Example is the Chinese truckers demonstration against Manbang in June 2018 where they accused the platform for squeezing margins amid a scenario of rising fuel-prices. There have also been well-funded start-ups that showed tremendous potential starting as early as 2015 but ran into operational issues such as Cargomatic Inc, The United States and TruckMandi, India. While Cargomatic has managed to secure fresh funding in September 2018, TruckMandi is now defunct.
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