Indian Transport & Logistics

A trucking business saga from North East

A trucking business saga from North East
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Amarnath Paribahan is a 40-year-old family trucking business based in Guwahati, Assam and it grew from a fleet of 50 trucks and 60 drivers to 200 trucks and 250 drivers after joining hands with Amazon India. Director of Amarnath Paribahan, Amarnath Banik recently spoke to ITLN about the early years of the business, nuances of North East and its future plans.

Tell us about the beginnings of the family trucking business and how it evolved in the 80s and 90s.
Our family's trucking business has a rich history, dating back to 1984. It's a journey that spans decades and is rooted in the entrepreneurial spirit that defines our family. The early years were a foundation-building period, and we ventured into the logistics and transportation industry with a vision for success.

As time passed, our business evolved, responding to the dynamic changes in the market. The 1980s and 1990s were pivotal decades where we solidified our presence in the trucking business. These years set the stage for my personal involvement in the family legacy, as I joined in 2006, ready to contribute to the industry that had become a significant part of our family's identity.

Tell us about how you learned about Amazon’s trucking partner programme and how it changed your business.
In 2019, my business took a significant turn when I learned about Amazon's trucking partner programme. It was a significant moment as I recognized the immense potential for growth and saw an opportunity to contribute to the thriving e-commerce and logistics industries.

In the beginning, we embarked on this journey with a modest fleet of 50 trucks and a team of 60 dedicated drivers. With Amazon’s trucking partner programme, we were able to reshape our family's trucking business. The programme not only facilitated the expansion of our fleet to over 200 trucks but also opened doors to a range of technology-driven products and valuable services. Amazon's offering of value-added services (VAS) eased our entry to convenient and lower-interest-rate financing, serving as a crucial factor in the significant expansion of our business. Additionally, the utilization of Relay app, also played a key role in overcoming our everyday challenges. The Relay app, comprising Relay for Carrier and Relay for Driver, contributes to the improvement of operational efficiency. Relay for Carrier provides instant visibility into all trips and performance metrics, while Relay for Drivers simplifies processes like check-in, checkout, and real-time communication in emergencies, guaranteeing prompt assistance.

Amazon's support has not only increased our operational capacity but also introduced innovative tools, significantly streamlining our processes. Our strategy also involves fostering local ties within the Northeast, and establishing strong relationships with communities and businesses to enhance our understanding of local dynamics. This network contributes to smoother operations. Recognizing the unique challenges, especially the need for skilled drivers in challenging terrains, we've prioritized comprehensive recruitment and training programmes. This ensures our team is well-prepared to overcome specific regional challenges. To address unexpected disruptions, strategic backup routes have been implemented, providing alternatives when faced with unforeseen circumstances. This proactive approach not only strengthens our supply chain but ensures resilience and adaptability, minimizing the risk of delays and disruptions and allowing us to consistently meet market demands and uphold high operational standards. The collaboration with Amazon extends beyond logistics, creating a robust platform for the prosperity of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) like ours. Amazon's commitment to supporting local businesses has not only propelled our success but has also made a positive impact on the entire logistics landscape in the Northeast region. Through this partnership, we've experienced substantial growth, operational efficiency, and a thriving ecosystem for SMEs in the region.

Tell us about the geography and the challenges you face in the North East region. What are the nuances of building a business in North-East?
The challenging topography, steep inclines, and unpredictable weather conditions in Northeast India pose numerous difficulties for us, yet they also offer economic opportunities. The region's demanding landscapes and weather conditions, including heavy monsoon rains and the constant risk of landslides, require meticulous planning and adaptability for safe and efficient transportation operations. The entrepreneurial spirit not only helps overcome challenges but also establishes resilient transportation networks crucial for the growing demands of the e-commerce and logistics industry in the region. Navigating cities like Guwahati, Tinsukia, Shillong, and Kohima involves a strategic, localized approach, emphasizing strong local ties, skilled drivers, and a robust contingency plan to thrive in providing reliable transportation services amidst the unique challenges of the NorthEast. Through strategic planning, we ensure the resilience and adaptability of our supply chain, thereby reducing the likelihood of delays and interruptions resulting from unexpected situations.

What is the demand increase you have witnessed in the region recently?
I have witnessed steady business growth with Amazon. I have been discussing the additional business opportunity in the coming years. Amazon has been our constant support even during severe contingencies.

Tell us about your plans and developments in business. Do you have enough capacity to cater to the present demand? What are the new ideas, techniques and technologies you are implementing?
Looking into the future, my business holds ambitious plans for growth and advancement. With a current fleet exceeding 200 trucks and a dedicated team of 250 drivers, we are well-equipped to effectively meet the present demand. Embracing a spirit of innovation, we are in the process of actively implementing new ideas, techniques, and technologies to enhance the overall efficiency of our operations. By leveraging the technology-driven products and value-added services provided by Amazon, our goal is to remain at the forefront of the ever-evolving logistics landscape. With our commitment to driver’s safety, we take measures such as backup routes, regular health check-ups, and comprehensive accident insurance, underscoring our dedication to ensuring the well-being of our team. With a collaborative and determined approach, supported by Amazon, we are driving success in new territories, highlighting the limitless possibilities of entrepreneurship in the age of technology.

This interview was originally published in Indian Transport & Logistics News' Jan-Feb 2024 issue.

Libin Chacko Kurian

Libin Chacko Kurian

Principal Correspondent at STAT Media Group, he has six years of experience in business journalism covering food & beverage, nutraceuticals and now logistics. His current passion is to understand the nuances of global supply chains and their current turmoil. Outside work, he is also interested in philosophy, history, birding and travelling. Mail him: Follow on LinkedIn

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