Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 July 2019

Careem launches “Box” courier delivery service

The service, which allows customers to track the delivery of small items, takes Careem into competition with new two-wheeled rivals such as fetchr as well as old four-wheeled ones like Uber.
Careem is competing with rivals including fetchr, which contracts with restaurant delivery drivers to turn them into couriers when they are not driving food. Silvia Razgova / The National
Careem is competing with rivals including fetchr, which contracts with restaurant delivery drivers to turn them into couriers when they are not driving food. Silvia Razgova / The National

Careem launched its Box delivery service as the limousine hailing company moves to disrupt courier operators.

The service, which allows customers to track the delivery of small items, takes Careem into competition with new two-wheeled rivals such as fetchr as well as old four-wheeled ones like Uber.

“We wouldn’t be doing this if there weren’t seeing a demand for it,” said Faraz Syed, the managing director of Careem and Careem Labs.

The service is called Box because whatever is requested to be picked up has to fit in the box on the back of the ubiquitous mopeds used largely for food deliveries countrywide.

“It’s for anything from forgotten keys to important documents to lunch from your favourite restaurant, delivered for about Dh20. We have kept it simple and competitively priced so people can use the Careem App they already have on their phones and know that the same level of service and training will be brought to the Box service.”

The launch of the service highlights how fast the UAE’s digital companies are moving to outdo the competition.

Fetchr started four years ago as a delivery service using GPS tracking technology and the “sharing economy”.

It partners with firms whose riders and bikes are under-used at certain times of the day, thereby boosting productivity and revenues.

Last week, fetchr secured US$41 million in second round of funding, with big money coming mainly from Majid Al Futtaim Holding in a form of private equity and global venture capitalists New Enterprise Associates.

Idriss Al Rifai, the founder and chief executive of fetchr, said: “Careem’s move is a surprise to me but a welcome surprise. It means we are doing something right. ”

He said the model sounded similar to his company’s business.

Mr Al Rifai said, “90 per cent of our business is business-to-consumer, of which there are hundreds of thousands of deliveries each year. It is not a simple business, as it is far more complex than the ride hailing app Careem is now known for. There are far more imponderables and questions that arise from a delivery service. However, this is good for the region, as it takes us another step forward in the digital discovery for our customers.”

But this new service increases competition in the courier business, which is dominated by players such as Aramex, DHL and UPS.

Aramex itself started life as a regional disruptor to global logistics operators. The company declined to comment on the new Careem service.

“This is the world now. The disrupters have become the disrupted,” said Samer Bohsali, a partner with strategy&.

ascott@thenational.ae

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Updated: May 22, 2017 04:00 AM

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