Delivery firms big winners in quarantine

While many businesses closed shop and bled red ink during the lockdown, delivery service providers flourished.

ONLINE DELIVERY – Riders of different online delivery services wait for messages from prospective clients in front of this mall in Ermita, Manila.
(Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

Everyone sheltering at home needed basic commodities, from food, medicine, hygiene products, clothing, housewares, accessories, hardware, appliances, gadgets, electronic equipment and accessories to pet food and veterinary supplies.

The need surged as the most vulnerable — people under 20 years old and senior citizens 60 years old and above, as well as those with pre-existing health conditions, were prohibited from going out.

Add to that, employees worked from home and students took their classes online.

At the peak of the lockdown, only the trucks, vans and motorbikes of delivery providers were visible, out on the streets.

While the safest way to transact business in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic was via contactless buying and selling merchandise online, deliveries in person still accounted for the last mile.

And so, on-demand delivery services boomed.

GrabExpress delivered parcels on demand, with real-time tracking — the parcel is picked up immediately and delivered straight to the recipient.

Notably, when the country went into extended lockdown, 4,000 driver partners of its parent, ride-hailing firm, Grab, transitioned to its delivery fleet as an alternative livelihood source.

While the government suspended public transportation, Grab offered virtual training to GrabCar driver-partners and onboarded them as GrabFood, Grab Express, and GrabMart delivery-partners.

Grab, the leading ride hailing app in Southeast Asia, has been downloaded onto over 185 million mobile devices, giving users access to over 9 million drivers, merchants and agents.

It offers on-demand transport services in the region, in addition to food, package, grocery delivery services, mobile payments and financial services across 339 cities in eight countries.

To support thousands of its driver-partners in the Philippines during the lockdown, the company also rolled-out GrabBayanihan, its COVID-19 response program.

Allowing driver-partners to shift from transporting passengers to doing deliveries was just one part of the program.

“Since the suspension of public transportation, we have been relentless
in finding ways to protect and assist our driver-partners,” says Brian Cu, Grab Philippines President.

Grab hauled in over 78,000 new merchant-partners in the Philippines and across Southeast Asia since the onset of the pandemic.

Lalamove is another player that benefited when the pandemic spurred delivery businesses to the forefront.

Lalamove offered on-demand and same-day delivery services via their mobile and web app connected to thousands of partner drivers in Metro Manila.

“The pandemic restricted movement and disrupted supply chains, making the transportation of essential supplies extremely difficult. In markets under a complete lockdown, delivery services were one of the few that were allowed to operate, and that’s when we knew that Lalamove was in a unique position to provide support,” noted Blake Larson, Managing Director, International, Lalamove.

Lalamove delivered over 200,000 essential items from donors, NGOs and businesses to communities in need in Asia during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative also kicked off Lalamove’s long-term corporate social responsibility program, Deliver Care.

Lalamove partnered with over 30 NGOs, government departments and businesses, offering free delivery to facilitate the transportation of care packages including over 125,000 face masks, 20,000 food packages, 52,000 bottles of hand sanitiser and 21,000 pieces of personal protective equipment such as gloves and face shields.

In total, the items reached more than 86,000 beneficiaries, from the
underprivileged, disabled youths to schools and hospitals.

Lalamove carried out the activities in Manila, Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Cebu, Bangkok, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Today, the 7-year old logistics firm matches over 7,000,000 customers with a pool of over 700,000 drivers of vans, trucks, lorries and motorcycles to provide same day delivery services.

Lalamove now operates in 21 markets across Asia and Latin America. It makes local deliveries faster with innovations such as instant order matching, real-time GPS vehicle tracking, 24/7 services, and a driver rating system.

Other delivery providers in the country include Angkas Padala, for on-demand roadside delivery, where senders and recipients meet the biker outside to send and receive packages through the Angkas App.