Delivery services shortage persists in HCMC due to regulation hassles

By Tat Dat   September 1, 2021 | 01:25 am PT
Delivery services shortage persists in HCMC due to regulation hassles
Shippers wait to test for Covid-19 in Go Vap District on August 31, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
HCMC still face a shortage of delivery people since many fear being fined because of inconsistent regulations.

Within 15 minutes on Tuesday morning Phi, a delivery person living in Binh Tan District, saw 40 new orders for drivers on his app. He took none of them.

"I really want to go back to work but I know the inconsistencies in the implementation of regulations will give me trouble," he said. He plans to wait for a few days for regulations to become more consistent to resume work after a one-week ban.

A few of his colleagues got up at 5 a.m. to be tested for Covid-19 so that they can work, but some medical stations did not open in time.

Quoc of District 7 has not returned to work since he finds the administrative procedures for delivery people too burdensome.

Besides, the fact that they are not allowed to make inter-district deliveries reduces their income greatly, he said.

"Having to get up at 5 a.m. to test for Covid-19 and facing the risk of contagion in return for a few hundred thousand dong a day is not worth it." (VND100,000 = $4.39).

Twenty days ago he was fined at a checkpoint and has been at home since, living off his savings.

HCMC on Tuesday allowed around 12,500 shippers to resume in Thu Duc City and seven districts considered high-risk.

But people like Phi and Quoc can travel only within their district and have to undergo Covid tests every day at 5-6 a.m. at mobile medical stations.

Customers are also struggling to find delivery people. On Facebook groups for shippers and customers, many requests for delivery services go unanswered.

Thanh, who sells seafood and sauces, said no delivery person accepted her order Tuesday on apps or Facebook groups.

"Only one accepted to deliver Wednesday. I had to apologize to 14 customers."

A spokesperson for AhaMove said demand outweighs supply in HCMC these days due to the shortage of delivery personnel.

As AhaMove drivers are not employees, it could not insist that anyone should work, he explained.

Many delivery people have chosen not to work either because they are afraid of contagion or of being fined despite carrying necessary documents as happened a few weeks ago, he said.

Another reason is the ban on inter-district delivery, which accounts for 70 percent of orders, he said.

The company has asked authorities to allow more drivers to operate and accept Covid tests for up to five days rather than the current one to two days, he said.

Daily testing increases crowds at medical stations and hurts drivers, affecting their work, he added.

HCMC, with 221,200 Covid-19 cases recorded since the end of April, has ordered people to "stay where they are" since last week and mobilized military personnel and local authorities to do proxy shopping for citizens.

But as residents have complained that their grocery orders were slow to arrive, the city started letting shippers to resume work this week.

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