Funds, Others Limit Local Couriers’ Role in e-Commerce
INDIGENOUS courier companies are at the outskirts of the booming e-commerce business in Nigeria, no thanks to a number of factors including lack of finance; capacity; and regulation which have all conspired limit their ability to meet the demands of parcel delivery in the fast growing online retail business.
Investigations revealed that only a handful of the more than 400 licensed courier operators in the country have been to secure loans from commercial banks to retool their operations.
Also most of the operators are yet to create separate logistics for delivery or have value propositions that appeal to and meet the demands of these e-commerce firms.
The falling standards of courier industry due to lax regulation of the sector has not also helped matters as e-commerce firms worry that goods may not be delivered and that one can be held accountable.
Rising from the recent national business retreat, Mr. Siyanbola Oladapo, president of the Association of Nigeria Courier Operators (ANCO) blamed the state of the sector on improper regulation of the sector.
According to Oladapo, “If federal government should properly legislate on the activities of the courier industry, probably, banks we see more reasons to give loans to operators. At the moment, we find it difficult to obtain loans, which is causing the nosedive of businesses and the inherent impoverishing of operators.
To save the situation, he said, “This industry needs government’s intervention too. If the aviation, entertainment and agric. sectors could secure government loans why can’t the courier operators. It is certain that we carry the image of the nation. Entertainment is about make believe, but courier is about playing middle role between businesses and that can define the integrity of the country. We deliver confidential items. So, we need funds to retool”.
On the e-commerce deliveries, Mrs. Omolara Okuneye-Oyeyemi, ANCO’s vice president said, though they are still studying the nitty-gritty of e-commerce operations, it is critical that banks give out loans to courier operators.
Okuneye-Oyeyemi, said, “Even as an economy, we have not really taken our time to study the fundamentals of e-commerce. There is need to gain experiences from the economies that have been on it for decades. Same time, our culture towards business is usually different from the outside world.
“Secondly, to engage in e-commerce delivery is capital intensive. You must have a large fleet of motorcycles and vehicles on ground, because the deliveries are at beck and calls and must be swiftly delivered. For instance, if the company has many shipments for delivery and maybe you have seven bikes on the go, while they require you pick-up items on the immediate, if you fail, they will ditch you and sign on another operator.
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