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Tuesday, Aug 03, 2004

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Ashley launches transport exchange

Our Bureau

Mr K.S. Kumar (right), Director-Ashley Transport Services Ltd, addresses a press conference in Chennai on Monday with Mr J.K. Rajagopal, Chief Executive, Transport Exchange. — Bijoy Ghosh

Chennai , Aug 2

ASHLEY Transport Services Ltd, a company promoted by Ashok Leyland and Ashok Leyland Finance, has launched `Transport Exchange' - a freight management intermediary service for moving goods by road.

Transport Exchange will have a paid-up equity capital of Rs 10 crore, with Ashok Leyland holding 70 per cent and Ashok Leyland Finance, a division of IndusInd Bank, holding the balance 30 per cent.

To begin with, Transport Exchange has set up 40 kiosks at major transport centres across the country. This number will increase to 100 by the end of this financial year and to 200 by the end of the next financial year, according to company officials.

Mr J.K. Rajagopal, Chief Executive of Transport Exchange, said that the company expects revenues of Rs 8-10 crore in the first full year of operation. It hopes to help in goods booking for at least 30 trucks daily in each of the kiosks run by it. Transport Exchange, according to him, has signed up 5,000 truck owners and 400 transport companies across the country as members.

The company hopes to bring in transparency and efficiency to the goods transportation sector, where annual freight earnings are estimated at Rs 70,000 crore. The kiosks run by it will be at places where requirement for trucks can be matched with the availability of the right kind of trucks. As the kiosks will all be linked, truck owners can seek the company's help to book goods on the return direction too.

Transport Exchange will earn revenues from three streams for the time being - through brokerage on goods booked, a fee for providing value-added services such as arranging insurance and smart card for fuel purchases, and a fee for arranging for working capital for the truck owners. At present, membership is free but once the scheme takes off, a membership fee will be charged.

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