New Delhi: Mumbai-based entrepreneur Vikas
Parashar wanted to rush a consignment of consumer goods to
Ludhiana, necessitated by heavy demand. But he also feared
cancellation of the order if it failed to materialise on time.
His trusted transporter could not be of much help as all his 14
heavy and light vehicles were already booked indefinitely by a big
industrial house. Parashar avoided other operators because of past
Finally, he approached IRTEX - the Indian Road Transportation
Exchange - which processed Parashar's request promptly, located a
medium-sized truck and had his goods moving within a few hours.
IRTEX, the brainchild of three Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay
batchmates, is said to be the country's single biggest platform to
sort out all shipment problems, involving manufacturers and fleet
operators, in a highly efficient and cost-effective way.
It has facilitated 10,000 transactions in over a year, involving
industrial and fast-moving consumer goods.
Set up in June 2009 by IITians Ankur Tripathi, Nitin Gupta and
Saurabh Gupta, it could be operationalised only in December 2010.
The trio worked tirelessly to root out inefficiency in the sector
and optimise movement of goods.
"IRTEX is moving the road transport industry online by using
technology that automates the sourcing of trucks, shipment
execution and processing of payment between carriers and
shippers," Tripathi, managing director of IRTEX, told IANS from
"A growing road transport industry, made up of national, regional
and local truck operators, suffers from low occupancy. We saw an
opportunity to induct technology to improve the occupancy levels,
from current 60 percent to 80 percent," he said.
By helping truck operators manage their daily operations, IRTEX
helps improve fleet utilization. The cascading effect spells
increased revenues and naturally, profits. Services include
tracking with the help of manual and GPS systems and
authentication of vehicles by vetting of documents, before any
The fragmented road transport industry comprises a few national
transport companies with up to 1,000 trucks such as GATI,
Transport Corporation of India, Safe Express and Patel Roadways.
Several regional operators run between 50 and 500 trucks and
thousands of local fleet operators between one and 20 trucks.
IRTEX connects small operators, comprising 90 percent of
transporters, owning five vehicles or less, according to the 'Road
Transport Reorganisation Committee'. The small number prevents
satisfactory and efficient service to end users. Prices of petrol
and diesel are rising and making the mode of transport more
IRTEX also offers a cellphone-based service and operates a
multi-lingual call centre.
"It's a multi-technology product since we have to cater to
different kinds of people like local brokers and truck drivers who
are not well versed with technology," Tripathi explained to IANS.
Nitin Gupta, IRTEX's chief technical officer, said it may take as
many as 12 hours to arrange transport through an agent for a
consignment lying at the airport and required by a service
provider. He may approach the IRTEX website, filling a form about
the nature of cargo, route, destination and time for the shipment
to be moved.
These requirements would be matched with the list of transport
houses or their agents registered with the site, helping the user
choose the best option.
IRTEX has started operations in Delhi and plans to expand to three
more locations in the eastern and southern parts of the country
(Shudip Talukdar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)