Firms ramp up deliveries to cope with online orders ahead of Chinese New Year

Supermarket chain FairPrice has opened up more delivery slots to cater to the increased demand. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Logistics companies, e-commerce platforms and supermarkets are enjoying a roaring business in the lead-up to the Year of the Tiger, with firms reporting an uptick of between 20 per cent and 40 per cent in orders for delivery.

Supermarket chain Sheng Siong, which saw a 20 per cent increase in online orders, and rival FairPrice have opened up more delivery slots to cater to the demand.

Lazada has also been tapped by consumers, with the e-commerce platform enjoying a more than 40 per cent rise in buyers compared with the Chinese New Year period last year, said chief executive Loh Wee Lee.

"This includes grocery demand for RedMart, which reached its highest order levels this month," he added. RedMart has created more delivery slots in response.

An Amazon spokesman said the e-commerce giant has expanded its Chinese New Year selection to accommodate the higher demand, but did not elaborate on deliveries.

The spike in business has prompted logistics firm Ninja Van to hire more delivery drivers. The home-grown company estimates a 20 per cent to 40 per cent increase in orders over the festive period, especially from fashion and electronic retailers.

"Ninja Van has amped up on the resources and capacity required to sort and deliver the parcels safely and efficiently," Ninja Van Singapore's head of commercial, Mr Kooh Wee Hou, said on Friday (Jan 28).

One of its major initiatives was launching an automated hub in Yio Chu Kang last October that can process up to three times more parcels an hour as compared with its previous capacity.

However, Mr Kooh added that delivery drivers can still be bogged down by challenges such as non-contactless deliveries. If the customer is uncontactable, the driver has to make another delivery attempt on the next working day.

To avoid this, he recommends that customers opt for contactless delivery.

Delivery platform Pickupp did well from Jan 17 to Jan 23, buoyed by about 20 per cent business growth from the week before.

Its co-chief operations officer Lee Chee Meng said order volume for January is expected to exceed that of January last year by nearly 30 per cent.

"As a logistics company with on-demand delivery capacity, many orders can come in just a couple of days before or on the day itself, but we definitely forecast a growth of deliveries scheduled for the first two weeks of February," he added.

Its clients include food delivery platforms such as Oddle and Changi Eats, and bakeries such as Matchaya, and Cat and the Fiddle.

Pickupp is "equipped to scale and accommodate peak season demand" by utilising freelance delivery agents alongside its in-house delivery fleet. It incentivises freelancers to take up orders during peak periods when necessary.

"In some locations where we foresaw insufficient freelance agents, we deployed our in-house fleet," Mr Lee said, adding that this hybrid model allows the platform to fulfill orders of up to five times those of fixed fleets.

Ninja Van estimates a 20 to 40 per cent increase in orders over the festive period, especially from fashion and electronic retailers. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Courier business director Shaiful Danial Izdihar has a team of around 30 deliverymen handling the surge of deliveries during the festive period.

The director of DXN Services said he has had to reject about 15 vendors as a result of increased demand.

"We assist home-based businesses in delivering Chinese New Year cookies and goodies, and orders for delivery increased up to 80 per cent," he added.

"We just accept bookings within our capabilities and everything went as scheduled."

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