Ramadan & Raya 2020: eCommerce Logistics and Last Mile Challenges in Singapore
From potential backlog due to Ramadan volume to holiday closures, find out Ramadan's eCommerce logistics challenges in Singapore and how to overcome them!
March 31, 2020
This is part of our Southeast Asia Ramadan series, where we look into overcoming potential last-mile issues that could arise during Ramadan. Our earlier articles covered eCommerce insights for Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, too. For all of these in one convenient package, check out our SEA Ramadan Guide 2020!
Our previous article on Singapore Ramadan online shopping insights, covered that Ramadan in Singapore is also a great opportunity for eCommerce merchants. Demand for products like modest fashion, beauty products and home and living items is expected to increase during this holy month, but with it comes a few logistics challenges.
Similar to Malaysia, there is also increased traffic that occurs as people rush home to break their fasts and expected decreased productivity from workers as many begin fasting and changing their sleeping hours.
One thing to note is that the COVID-19 situation has made many things uncertain lately, including how it could impact Ramadan and Raya celebrations this 2020. On one hand, online shopping for the above items could increase as more people avoid going to brick-and-mortar outlets to do their shopping, but it could also alter demand for these products altogether. For this article, we’ll be working with the assumption that demand remains unaffected and deliveries during Ramadan and Raya can still operate normally.
But before we dive into the challenges to eCommerce logistics in Singapore during Ramadan, it helps to recap how international eCommerce deliveries work in Singapore.
Singapore being a smaller city-state, unlike Malaysia and Indonesia, means that it’s highly urbanised and well-connected. When it comes to delivery, last-mile service providers tend to have good coverage of the whole country via vehicles like delivery vans. Last-mile delivery and international freight are also part of a larger set of delivery steps. To get a deeper breakdown of all the stages of the shipping process in general, do check out our B2C guide to shipping to Southeast Asia.
With regard to the international freight stage of delivery, you generally have three options to ship goods to Singapore:
For many eCommerce merchants, air freight is the transportation of choice for fast and reliable deliveries. International shipments usually enter Singapore via Changi International Airport (SIN).
In bulk, sea freight is cheaper, but this is not the case for smaller shipments. Nevertheless, sea freight is much slower than air freight. Also, Singapore’s position as a regional aviation hub means airfreight shipments tend to have a shorter turnaround time due to the high frequency of flights in and out of the country. Consider your delivery deadlines and shipping model before picking this option. Singapore’s primary port is the Port of Singapore (SGSIN).
Cross-border trucking is the third option. Singapore has road connections with peninsular Malaysia via Woodlands and Tuas, so line-haul trucking is a viable option to consider. This transportation method tends to be cheaper than air freight and sea freight if your warehouses are based in peninsular Malaysia. However, with land border crossings recently affected by COVID-19 policies in Malaysia, there’s a chance that this method would still be impacted during Ramadan too.
There are also some considerations to bear in mind for last-mile deliveries in Singapore. As roads can become congested and operators are pressed for time to deliver to other addresses, it is also possible that your customer may miss their delivery if they are not at home. While carriers might carry out multiple attempts at delivery, engaging with one that provides options like dropping the item off at a parcel locker at HDB void decks or nearby community centers, or leaving the shipment at the guardhouse of condominiums, can ensure that your customers are able to receive the shipment in time and at their own convenience.
Looking to ship your products and ride on the Ramadan & Raya festivities? Janio can get your eCommerce products into Singapore fuss free! Contact us to get started.
With these considerations in mind, it’s time to review the eCommerce challenges that crop up during Ramadan in Singapore and how you and your logistics service providers can deal with them.
Challenges Faced During Ramadan and Hari Raya Aidilfitri
In Singapore, parcel order volumes rise significantly during Ramadan, with a huge spike in order volume closer to Hari Raya. Likely caused by last-minute online orders, the huge order volume could cause your parcels to be backlogged and can take time to be delivered. Online purchase volumes during this period are also increasing in light of COVID-19, with Ramadan bazaars will be cancelled and traditional brick-and-mortar outlets being avoided. Most of these orders also come near a time when deliveries need to stop for the Hari Raya public holiday itself, which this year falls on 25th May 2020.
Apart from the possible change in volume attributable to COVID-19, this spike in demand during Ramadan is an expected yearly occurrence. Some logistics service providers tend to boost manpower during the lead-up to Hari Raya and also increase the number of last-mile delivery vehicles they have on standby.
Indra Rahmat, Singapore operations manager at Janio Asia says, “To meet the higher order volume during Ramadan, we have additional vans for pickup on standby during this time.”
On the merchant’s end, if you’re able to pre-empt your logistics partner with estimated demand spikes, they will be able prepare in advance and further reduce chances of delays during the demand spike.
As for deliveries stopping during Hari Raya, your logistics service partners should give you advance notice of when pickups will stop for the public holiday. Indra Rahmat adds, “We will stop deliveries and pickups during the public holidays and resume as per normal after. It’s also advisable to stop all pickup and deliveries on the eve of Hari Raya Aidilfitri.”
Despite the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 this year, it’s still good to be prepared for the upcoming Ramadan shopping season - be it on the sales front or the eCommerce delivery front. Considering that some retailers see sales double during Ramadan, having a shipping partner who is experienced in dealing with volume spikes and international logistics during Ramadan is key to providing your Singapore Ramadan shoppers a great eCommerce experience.
If you'd like to find out more about how we can solve your SEA eCommerce cross-border delivery needs, come and have a conversation with us.
Want to learn more about Southeast Asia's Ramadan opportunities? Check out our series below: