In a bid to provide a viable solution to the major challenges associated with last-mile logistics in Africa, And Africa LLC has launched a pilot of its ECD (Easy Collect & Drop) last-mile delivery service in South Africa. ECD uses smart locker technology that allows users to send, receive and store parcels conveniently any time of the day or week.
The first set of ECD lockers was installed at two major shopping centres located in Sandton, Johannesburg – namely, Dainfern Square and Pineslopes Boulevard. More ECD lockers will be installed in major residential estates, apartment complexes and petrol stations in Johannesburg and Pretoria in the coming months.
To offer the best delivery service to all its customers and improve accessibility to end-to-end delivery, ECD is now available nationwide. Customers can send parcels from Gauteng to any other province in South Africa
Customers choose their nearest ECD locker, drop off their parcel, and have it delivered to any address in the country. Customers are offered more flexibility to choose when to do their deliveries, be it after work, before a morning workout, or while doing their grocery shopping.
The service gives both sender and receiver the option of dropping off and collecting the parcel from their closest ECD locker, thus reducing waiting time for courier services to reach the receiver’s address.
3. Online Purchase Delivery
This option provides online shoppers with flexible delivery of their purchases from ECD’s retail partners since they could assign the nearest ECD locker to the customer and reduce re-delivery costs thanks to the 48-hour pick-up window for their purchases.
4. Storage Locker
This facility was tailored for customers who want to store parcels or baggage for a certain period (up to 24 hours). The service comes in handy for day travellers who want to explore the city hands-free, or shoppers who don’t want to struggle with their many purchases for the whole trip – or, for that matter, any person who prefers to keep their items stored safely.
Note: The Locker-to-Door, Locker-to-Locker and Storage Locker services are all made available through the ECD Web app and mobile app (iOS and Android compatible). The Online Purchase Delivery service is available directly through participating e-commerce websites as a delivery option.
Challenges of last-mile delivery in Africa
One of the biggest challenges facing last-mile delivery in Africa, and the world, is the re-delivery issue that results in additional costs. Additional issues came up in the Africa context due to traffic congestion, unclear addresses (more specifically in rural areas), poor or undeveloped road infrastructure, and scattered delivery destinations, which contribute to a courier’s inability to provide timely delivery and leading to long waiting times for customers.
ECD solves the problem as it’s an innovative and viable solution for both courier companies and customers. Couriers can avoid re-deliveries by dropping off parcels in ECD lockers, while customers are given 48 hours to collect their parcel once it’s delivered.
The last-mile delivery sector is also expected to adapt to unforeseen situations, such as Covid-19, which enforced the concept of social distancing. ECD is the preferred delivery option thanks to its ability to facilitate the delivery of parcels without the need for human contact.
Future prospects for Africa’s logistics market
According to Statistica, the market size of the logistics industry across the African continent was US$355-billion in 2018 and the last-mile market witnessed growth estimated at $27.2-billion in 2019, which can be mainly attributed to rapid digitalisation observed in recent years. Rapid digitalisation has in turn driven the increase in the use of e-commerce on the continent, with the total number of online shoppers growing at an annual rate of 18%. E-commerce revenue totalled $18.8-billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $35.4-billion in 2024.
This all suggests that ECD has been launched at the right time and that Africa is ready to embrace and welcome technology.
We have been promoting cooperation between Africa and Japan through technology transfer and encouraging investment. We believe that utilising the technological capabilities of Japan can create a differentiating factor in business development in Africa. In Africa, where e-commerce growth faces many challenges in terms of last-mile logistics, we set up ECD to offer a better last-mile delivery service.
ECD can minimise the Covid-19 risk by mitigating human intervention when receiving/sending your parcel. And it creates many “gig work” opportunities through our on-demand logistics and locker franchise models. Besides, ECD contributes to reducing traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating re-delivery. Finally, ECD frees you from waiting for parcels at home and provides the most reasonable delivery service.
I am therefore confident that ECD will be one of the demanded solutions in Africa. We will do our best to contribute to the reform of last-mile logistics in Africa. — Yo Murofushi, CEO, And Africa LLC
- For more, visit www.easycollectanddrop.com
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