Supply chain: Delivery by e-grocers picking up gradually in cities shuttered due to coronavirus lockdown

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March 27, 2020 2:00 AM

Since March 23 when lockdowns have been enforced deliveries by e-retailers have been hampered thanks to police action causing inconvenience to customers and physical harm to delivery staff boys who were man-handled.

Local authorities appear to be dragging their feet on clearances, stalling seamless operations.

Services of e-grocers remained partially disrupted on Thursday despite efforts by the authorities on Wednesday to facilitate the delivery of essentials. Those companies that had activated partial services late on Wednesday were able to resume services in some more cities. However, local authorities appear to be dragging their feet on clearances, stalling seamless operations.

Milkbasket, that delivers in six cities, said it has been able to resume partial operations across Gurgaon, Noida and Bengaluru although operations in Hyderabad are still closed. “We are hopeful of resuming services to all our customers by Saturday and Sunday,” the company said in a statement on Thursday. Facing resistance from over 50 communities across India, the firm was forced to dump 15,000 litre of milk and 10,000 kilogram of fruit and vegetables.

BigBasket said it is now delivering in two more cities taking the tally to 12, including Bengaluru, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Noida and Surat. However, customers may not get slots immediately in most of these cities as they are booked for nearly a week.

Prashant Tandon, co-founder and CEO at 1mg Technologies, told FE operations are more streamlined post intervention by authorities. The company is now delivering in about 10 cities and hopes to cover 25 more markets over the next week. “The overall situation on the ground is much better. Intra-city operations are on but inter-city operations still seem challenging,” Tandon said.

Grofers has gone live in six markets including New Delhi, Gurgaon and Bengaluru. The Gurgaon-based company services, which services several mid-rung markets like Meerut, Moradabad, Asansol and Hapur, had said earlier it has a backlog of nearly 4 lakh orders. A Flipkart spokesperson told FE that the company’s grocery services are operational in all the five cities —Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai and New Delhi.

Since March 23 when lockdowns have been enforced deliveries by e-retailers have been hampered thanks to police action causing inconvenience to customers and physical harm to delivery staff boys who were man-handled. This is despite specific directives which exempted e-retailers from the strictures of the lockdown.

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