Leuven company launches parking tool for truck drivers
The Leuven-based company OTRA Solutions is launching a digital platform for drivers, companies, and parking operators in the transport sector. The real-time parking tool has to offer a solution for the increasing parking problems along the major European traffic axes.
Every day, there is a shortage of 100 000 parking spaces for trucks throughout Europe. The platform is co-financed by PMV, the holding company for the Flemish government, and the investment company Alychlo, which manages the assets of entrepreneur Marc Coucke.
Shortage of safe parking spaces
Through the reservation application, OTRA – short for ‘on the road again’ – wants to provide truckers and their cargo with a reliable, safe, and well-equipped parking space. In addition to congestion problems, the transport world is also very concerned about the increasing criminality on European roads and the shortage of safe and decent parking facilities.
Due to the breaks required by law, with fines in the event of violation ranging from 600 to even 3 000 euros, truck drivers may never spend more than 4,5 hours behind the wheel and no more than ten hours a day in total.
The gap in the market
Those who drive longer and arrive at a car park where there is no room for a truck and its trailer have to park somewhere with all the risks that it entails. Each year, 8,2 billion euros worth of theft and damage to trucks are reported in Europe. “75% of these incidents happen in unsecured places,” says OTRA co-founder Sven Bols to Het Laatste Nieuws.
The gap in the market is clear: there are already a few apps to reserve a parking space, but they are not reliable.
Peace of mind on the road
For transport companies, the OTRA app is a planning, monitoring, and payment system. The parking host or operator can show drivers and companies which facilities they can offer with the system.
With the mobile reservation tool, the driver can make a guaranteed reservation in a secure car park based on real-time parking information and make an assured payment online. After making the reservation, drivers receive a QR code to enter the car park.
‘Booking.com of the truck service’
According to Sven Bols and Isabel Corne of OTRA, 50 companies and 21 car parks should already be operational on the platform this autumn. In the future, the company, which currently has about ten employees, wants to realize fully equipped car parks all over Europe.
Sven Bols and Isabel Corne, respectively the former CEO and CFO of the security company Verisure, founded the company two years ago. According to De Tijd, investor Marc Coucke sees OTRA as ‘the Booking.com of the truck service’.
With public investment company PMV, Coucke is pumping fresh capital into the start-up with his investment company Alychio. After the capital increase, Alychlo will have 30% of the shares and PMV 17%. The founding duo Bols and Corne hold the remaining majority.