THE global Covid-19 pandemic saw retailers respond to consumers’ demands for online shopping. This growth has translated into exponential growth for the courier industry. By 2019 Fastway Couriers, SA’s largest network of independently owned last-mile courier service providers, was growing by 9.2% year-on-year. In 2022, Post Covid-19 and amidst the local e-commerce boom, that catapulted to 35.7% year-on-year.
Daniel Lombard, Fastway Couriers MD, says the company anticipates moving around 14 million parcels this year, as consumers recognise the convenience and cost-effectiveness of retaining home deliveries from retailers.
Lombard says the growth in last mile courier deliveries have their roots in both traditional bricks-and-mortar businesses and exclusively online platforms. The African retail and wholesale group Massmart and the online store Bob Group were recently secured as key accounts with the latter’s growth indicative of the expansion small to medium-sized businesses are experiencing in line with e-commerce demands.
Massmart has more than 300 stores across nine sub-Saharan countries, while the Bob Shop online marketplace (formerly BidorBuy) and its fulfilment engine Bob Go (formerly uAfrica) form the heart of the Bob Group. The changes are the natural extension of the 2022 merger between the two companies that forged Bob Group.
Lombard says Fastway services 28 000 South African customers with approximately 530 vehicles daily and has more than 600 e-commerce integrated customers. The business model has spawned over 360 courier franchisees of which 82% are black-owned and 29% female franchisees.