LTA should review ban on cabbies as couriers

I strongly encourage the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to review its ban on cabbies as couriers (LTA may change rule on barring cabbies from courier services; Aug 4).

Digitisation today is causing a radical shift in traditional industry boundaries.

Amazon, besides being engaged in e-commerce, is also involved in cloud computing and logistics. China's Tencent provides services that include social media, gaming and finance.

Such organisations are not constrained by any industry.

Industry definitions have always been fluid: technological developments cause sectors to appear, disappear and merge.

The transport industry itself is undergoing rapid disruption, with the emergence of private-hire drivers as a result of the sharing economy.

As boundaries between industry sectors continue to blur, companies will define their business models not by how they play against traditional industry peers, but by how effective they are in competing within emerging "ecosystems".

Therefore, I encourage the LTA to adopt an ecosystem mindset and acknowledge how courier delivery services can converge with the taxi industry in the near future.

Tan Kok Heng (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 07, 2017, with the headline 'LTA should review ban on cabbies as couriers'. Print Edition | Subscribe