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COVID-19 Tech Updates: Coronavirus Hits Ride-hailing Companies, Boosts Online Grocery and Delivery

Ride-hailing companies hit hardest by coronavirus outbreak: Ride-hailing is one of the industries that has been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak across markets. It is no different in Dhaka. Ride-hailing companies have already suspended services across cities in Bangladesh following the Government lockdown announcement from March 26 to April 4. 

Even before the official lockdown ride-hailing companies were already seeing a dramatic fall in the number of rides as more and more urbanites reduce their commute outside amid the pandemic. 

Online grocery sees a huge bump in demand: As more and more people stay put in their homes amid the lockdown, online grocery companies experience a huge rise in orders. Companies like Chaldal, Khaas Food, Shwapno, have reported a dramatic rise in the number of orders in the last few weeks. Companies have implemented extended security measures to ensure the safety of their delivery personnel by ensuring proper security gears. 

Companies face challenges in hiring delivery people: Attracting delivery men has become a challenge for most companies. While it has become a scaling challenge for Chaldal and Khaas Food, who hire delivery men in both part-time and permanent basis, because they now find it hard to hire new pickers and delivery men amid growing demand, for gig economy companies such as Pathao, Foodpanda, the challenge is different since they employ delivery men on a contractual basis and don’t offer permanent jobs. Many gig workers who work with companies like Shohoz and others have already left the city or don’t want to take the higher risk of working amid the coronavirus outbreak. Since their relationship with companies is voluntary in nature, they can choose not to work if they want. 

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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