They call it ‘Project Zoom’ inside Rivigo, a tech-enabled logistics company headquartered in Gurgaon. Essentially, if a family wants to move from Delhi to Mumbai, you notify Rivigo online, listing the items to be transported. Rivigo’s staff of loaders, known as faujis, come to your house to pick up the goods and deliver to your destination. This project has been in the works for around a year at a company in the long-haul trucking tech segment. Rivigo, founded in 2014, has raised north of $100 million from investors SAIF Partners and Warburg Pincus.
“Anyone can be client for Project Zoom,” says a source who has been directly involved in the project. Over a third of this 3,000-employees company has been working on it. “The Zoom pick-up connects with our Prime vehicles (that connect warehouse to warehouse across states),” he says. Zoom warehouses are on Rivigo’s books— as are its 2,500 trucks, drivers (‘pilots’) and faujis—not to mention the tech team. Rivigo wants the control, hence it’s taken these costs on board. Project Zoom is among a spate of experiments in long-haul trucking, which has got regulatory fillip over the past year. The logistics industry had anticipated the goods and services tax (GST) from late 2015 onward. But what no stakeholder expected was demonetisation on November 8, 2016, which caused pain and also nudged the $260-billion domestic logistics industry toward a cashless economy.
The Electronic Way Bill (E-way Bill) is on the anvil under the GST Act, which requires transport companies and small fleet owners to furnish information on the consignment electronically on a portal – before the journey. The government is aiming to organise the logistics industry and bring it into the formal economy, expected to grow to $462 billion by 2020. The technology push from companies such as Rivigo is enabling this complex migration. It is also an opportunity to make the industry more efficient. “With GST, warehouses will become bigger, sizes and fleets of trucks larger, and distances longer,” says Pankaj Naik, co-head of digital and technology investment banking at Avendus. “Return freight and utilisation of truck become very important. That’s the point-to-point problem tech marketplaces will solve.”