The Jakarta Post
The delivery services of e-commerce platforms and logistics firms have been affected by the logistics disruptions caused by the various large-scale social restrictions (PSBB) enforced in different cities to the contain the spread of COVID-19.
E-commerce platform Tokopedia customer excellence vice president Rudy Dalimunthe told The Jakarta Post on Thursday that late deliveries had been a key source of customer complaints over the last three months.
“The problem is there are different types of [restrictions] in each area, which confuse our third-party logistics partners. Thus, communication with our customers is critical when the situation is very unpredictable,” he said during a webinar held by online survey firm SurveySensum.
Rudy said the company had seen a 40 percent increase in complaints and queries since January, due primarily to delivery issues and an influx of new users to the platform.
The COVID-19 outbreak, with 59,000 confirmed cases as of Thursday, has resulted in a spike in online shopping, as people seek to avoid public spaces like markets and shopping centers. As a result, Indonesia’s e-commerce sector is expected to see 50 percent year-on-year growth this year be valued at US$35 billion, according to a recent survey by management consulting company Redseer.
While the cities and regencies across the country have different rates of transmission – categorized as green, yellow, orange and red zones – the implementation of PSBB measures has mostly be left to the discretion of city-level and provincial administration.
Jakarta administration, for example, decided to extend its PSBB measures during the transitional period for 14 days, from July 3 to July 16.
“Jakarta’s [PSBB] policy is different from Central Java. [Local] governments are implementing restrictions in certain areas that cause disruptions to delivery services,” Rudy said.
In addition to the confusion over local restrictions, customers are also shipping perishable goods, which are sensitive to delays, according to app-based logistics provider Paxel.
“We have seen a seismic change in consumer behavior in our same-day intercity logistics service. The food category has jumped 45 percentage points since March and is still rising,” Paxel cofounder Zaldy Masita said during the webinar.
He said the combination of customer concerns about their shipments and regional differences in restrictions had created a high degree of uncertainty in the logistics sector.
Meanwhile, the decision of major airlines to ground aircraft has caused further disruptions, as Paxel also relies on air cargo for its same-day intercity delivery services.
The country’s domestic and international air freight volume dropped 39 percent below the monthly average in March due to the grounding of aircraft, Indonesian National Air Carrier Association (INACA) data show.
The association recorded a domestic freight volume of 13,558 cargo ton kilometers (CTK) in March, a steep decline from the monthly average of 45,193 CTK throughout 2019.
“Roadblocks and air cargo disruptions have affected our deliveries, and we have seen a three-fold jump in [queries and complaints] between March and May,” Zaldy said.
Despite the rising number of complaints, both Paxel and Tokopedia have enjoyed an increase in customers during the pandemic.
Paxel has seen a 50 percent increase in new customers over the last four months, and it is working to strengthen its same-day delivery business model, Zaldy said.
“I think we could expect more demand for intercity same-day shipping services, with more second-tier cities as destinations. We are also still looking at more food product deliveries,” he said.
Both companies said they were focused on improving their customer service lines to ensure a clear line of communication with their customers.