Six years ago, MP Singh was a newcomer to the United States. Today, he runs a large and continually-growing trucking company in California with over 500 trucks, 1200 trailers, 600 drivers, and revenue that is more than doubling every year. But for Singh, this is only the beginning.
Building a business from the ground up
Singh emigrated from India to Stockton in 2014, joining a brother who had been driving trucks for 17 years. Although he had no experience in the industry, he brought with him a wealth of business and management knowledge. From air cargo logistics to real estate, Singh’s past entrepreneurial ventures proved valuable to building a trucking company from the ground up. He spent a short amount of time learning the ins and outs of the industry from another friend in trucking and then began dispatching while his brother picked up and delivered loads.
Singh credits Kal Freight’s growth to a true investment in the people of the business, which means just as much to him as buying trucks, opening warehouses, or acquiring lanes. Every one of the 600 Kal drivers has his personal phone number, which he encourages them to use day or night. Singh also touts Kal Freight’s offices as a friendly and approachable space.
“We take care of each and every individual at our company,” he said, “Anyone can walk in and talk to me.” This helps them attract and keep drivers. Even in an age of well-documented shortages and retention problems, Kal has never had to advertise. Most come from word-of-mouth referrals.
Kal also maintains a 99% on-time pick-up and delivery rate which Singh says has helped them retain and add high-value customers. And it’s no easy task. Singh acknowledges that keeping up that high percentage while delivering 200 or more loads per day is one of the most challenging parts of his job.
Sikhs and the changing face of trucking
Kal Freight is also part of the growing movement of Sikh truck drivers in the United States. Since 2016, it’s estimated that more than 30,000 Sikhs have entered the industry. Sikhs have, however, been flocking to trucking since the 1980s when immigrants were forced to flee anti-Sikh sentiment and genocide in India. As numbers increased, Sikh trucking schools and truck stops followed.
Singh is a proud member of this community. He said one reason trucking is attractive is its earning potential. In addition to a good living, drivers also get the freedom and flexibility to make their own schedules. And according to Singh, one tenet of Sikhism is hard work. “Sixteen- or 17-hour days, 6 or 7 day weeks . . . these are not unheard of,” he said. This work ethic lends itself to the often grueling requirements of over-the-road trucking.
Looking to the future of Kal
In its next phase, Kal Freight is turning to technology. They recently started developing their own app for integration with other brokers and are interested in continuing to grow the relationship with Uber Freight as they grow. They’re also looking to add more lanes with Uber Freight, having already moved over 1000 Uber loads. We look forward to working with Kal Freight as we chart future Uber Freight offerings.