October 18, 2021

TrustTV

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How e-commerce boosts bike logistics in Abuja

In recent time there has been a high demand for swift delivery services in Nigeria which gave rise to the use of motorcycles for dispatch services popularly known as bike logistics. Daily Trust Saturday spoke to entrepreneurs who dispatch their goods and services with motorcycles.

 

Following the growth of the e-commerce industry in Nigeria, there is high demand for courier services which speed up demand and supply between customers and business owners.

Even with government regulations on the use of motorcycles on major roads and routes in the country, the prevalence of logistics motorcycles has become very high, especially in cities like Lagos and Abuja where a lot of commercial activities take place. These dispatch riders deliver items like food, clothing and home essentials. Although most of the rider attend to small scale businesses, some of them work for big courier services to assist in delivering bulk orders.

Charles Agbo who runs a logistics service in Abuja told Daily Trust Saturday that with the increase of business vendors in the city there is bound to be an expansion in the use of bike logistics within the city.

Agbo runs HB Logistics, a dispatch service that runs within the city of Abuja. Although his dispatch service is just a year old, he told Daily Trust Saturday that his riders were capable of handling between nine and 16 deliveries daily.

To offer more valuable services, Agbo and his team train their dispatch riders and give them all the necessary documents needed to work well.

He explained that, “Before we put our riders on the street, we make sure they have driver’s licence, road worthiness document, proof of ownership of the motorcycles and worker’s ID.

He said since food is a necessity, most of his riders delivered meals from different food vendors to different locations, and still delivered other products such as clothing and home essentials.

Dealing with customer property comes with risks and requires trust and loyalty from both ends, hence Agbo said he and his team had been able to build trust and loyalty with their customers over time through proper handling of their goods and services, adding that they had never had any issue with the police. Although the business is booming and orders are coming in, Agbo said challenges in the business included shortage of riders and dealing with certain customer expectations.

He explained that, “These riders come and go; they barely settle on the job, so there are days when we have bulk deliveries and few riders to handle them. Also, there are times when some customers need their goods delivered immediately, and because of prior orders that need to be sent out, their deliveries may be delayed, but they don’t consider that, they just want it done immediately.”

Agbo further explained that there had been an increase in demand for dispatch services because a lot of people were now going into business and required the services of dispatch riders to hasten the process of the supply chain.

Mrs Etim who runs a food business from her house told Daily Trust Saturday that dispatch riders played a very big role in strengthening her customer trust and loyalty.

She said, “On the days I have bulk deliveries, I plan ahead with the dispatch riders to make sure that my customers get their food on time, although certain times there may be delays, but my customers most times get their food on time.”

She said the dispatch riders also ran her house errands such as picking up foodstuff from the market or grocery store, taking goods to the station for onward transportation, etc.

Ms Mariam who manages a supermarket in Abuja also said the bike delivery system was a very efficient service and that it had been able to build more trust for her brand as she was known to always deliver her products on time. She said, “Whenever customers hear that we offer bike delivery services for groceries, they’re always excited and prefer to patronise that service rather than coming to the shop and having to join long queues at the point of payment.”

Salisu Musa who started as an okada rider but now works for a logistics service told Daily Trust Saturday that he deemed the job profitable, and that often times he was tipped by customers.

Salisu who prides himself to be a diligent rider and has never been found mishandling customers’ goods or products, said, “I do my job to the best of my ability. I make sure my papers are complete, I do not beat traffic rules and have never damaged property belonging to a client.”

He said he hoped to make more money before the end of the year to buy a motorcycle for and train someone to be working for him as a dispatch rider.

Edward Onyema, another rider who spoke to Daily Trust Saturday, said he found the job flexible and exposing. Unlike Salisu who is attached to a logistics service, Edward runs a one-man delivery service. He mainly helps women in the market deliver fresh foodstuff to their customers at home and through that process he also makes new clients by informing them of the services he offers.

He said, “I know how many big people I’ve delivered goods to as a dispatch rider, and I’m sure I might not have had that opportunity in another job,” adding that he preferred to work on his own.

However, Edward said working on his own created a seed of uncertainty and distrust from clients as they often felt he might run away with their goods. He explained that, “Every time I meet a new client, I always have to speak of myself in very good character and also have other clients attest to my good nature before a client can completely trust me with delivering or picking up their goods.”

With the rate at which the bike logistics business is rising there has been reports regarding certain riders who have been caught delivering illegal items such as hard drugs. In May, 2021, Daily Trust reported that the national Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested five dispatch riders who were caught delivering drugs within the city of Abuja.

Hence challenges like this have led the NDLEA to work with the FCT Police Command to conduct stop-and-search on all commercial dispatch riders in order to curb the drug business spreading in Abuja.