NEW DELHI: It was a road trip across Rajasthan that brought alive the travails of truck drivers to Deepak Garg.
The McKinsey consultant had just packed up an eight-year career to start up on his own, and driving 1,200 kilometres from Delhi to Vapi was an eye-opener. More so, when he broke the journey to meet with the families of truckers in Bhilwara. The story he uncovered was very different from what he could have ever found out at a consulting job. A truck driver, on an average, spends 25 days a month away from his family, several contract diseases or fall prey to substance abuse as a result of this lifestyle.
“They lose social respect, leading to them being called the ‘37th caste’ in the Indian village. The problem is not in truck driver’s income or skill gaps, but the problem is deep rooted in his terrible lifestyle away from his family leading to social disrespect and stigma,” said Garg, who would return to launch Rivigo, a surface transport logistics provider.
Rivigo raises $75 million in Series C funding from Warburg Pincus
The IIT-Kanpur and IIM-Lucknow alumnus reckons India needs more than a million truck drivers, and it is a herculean task to find even 10 new ones. And that explained the genesis of the problem that the Indian economy faces, one of the biggest threats to the growth of Indian economy, it is a threat to logistics infrastructure, the freight rates and the cost of running a business.
Garg simplified the task and introduced ‘Driver Relay Model’ by making sure that truck drivers get back home on the same day (or within 24 hours), thereby reducing turnaround time by 50-70% on long-haul routes.