According to a report by the transport research wing of India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, as of March 2016, the country had a road network of over 5,603,293 kilometers (3,481,725 miles). At 1.70 km of roads per square kilometer of land, the quantitative density of the network, as measured in 2016, was higher than that of Japan (0.91) and the United States (0.67), and far higher than that of China (0.46), Brazil (0.18) or Russia (0.08).

Roads are the dominant mode of transportation in India. According to the World Bank, they carry almost 90 percent of the country’s passenger traffic and 65 percent of its freight. For logistics, this means road line haul is of key importance, and with such a vast road network, intelligent solutions are critical in ensuring the timely and reliable transport of good. This is especially the case when it comes to perishable items or those needing to be transported in a temperature-controlled environment, such as medication and vaccines.

Technology-enabled logistics is now poised to transform road transport in India, with DHL’s SmarTrucking program, an integrated trucking system employing Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities and data-driven route optimization.

The integrated service makes possible data-drive route optimization across India’s extensive line haul express road network. Compared to traditional trucking routing methods, it is estimated to reduce transit times by up to 50 percent while providing over 95 percent reliability.


Using IoT-enabled sensors monitored through a centralized control tower allows SmarTrucking to offer customers real-time temperature and consignment tracking of shipments. All information is accessible through a customer portal plus external and mobile applications.

The efficiency resulting from DHL SmarTrucking is set to move an estimated 100,000 tons of cargo over four million kilometers in India daily.  3,500 IoT enabled and temperature-controlled trucks will be deployed across India by 2020, while plans are in place to have a 10,000 strong fleet in place by 2028.

DHL SmarTrucking is good news for drivers too: with the help of an agile and innovative model, drivers are rotated at predetermined stops located across the country, with the original driver returning to the point of origin with another truckload.

“This transportation model not only helps optimize efficiency but also reduces fatigue among drivers who spend less time on the road, enabling them to go home to their families every two to three days,” says Malcolm Monteiro, CEO, DHL eCommerce India. “Additionally, with the demand for temperature-controlled transportation in India estimated to grow at 15 percent per annum from 2016 to 2020, DHL SmarTrucking allows our customers in India to scale up and streamline their business operations to meet consumers’ needs.”

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Published: July 2018

Images: Thinkstock; DHL; Bloomberg/Getty Images; Philippe Calia; Bloomberg/Getty Images; Rajanish Kakade/dpa; Xavier Arnau