Transporters: The unsung heroes of our economy

Anywhere you go in Kenya, you will see truck drivers delivering goods. Our roads and highways are filled with trucks of all shapes and sizes. Tractor trailers are everywhere on the roads mainly attributed to the fact that we have the largest economy in the East and Central Africa region, by enjoying a critical strategic geographical location. The port of Mombasa is the largest and most active in Kenya according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

If you are driving a car, you may be annoyed by all these trucks, or if you are an environmentalist, you may be concerned by the fuel consumption of these huge trucks on the roads. Kenya’s road network which comprises of strategic trading corridors, links the port to economic hinterlands to mobilize goods to its people and the neighbouring landlocked countries. Trucking is a key determinant of market access and contributes to regional economic integration by creating efficient linkages that facilitate regional and global trade.

The reality is that these truck drivers are the backbone of our societies and our economy. They deliver the goods that we need to live the lives that we enjoy. Without them, the economy would stop and life as we know it would not be the same. Transportation accounts for 30 percent of the value of the goods traded within the region, hence it is a significant component of the supply chain. The impact of transport goes well beyond its contribution to the economy as it serves as an intermediary service to all sectors and is therefore critical to economic growth and poverty alleviation.

It is very true that without trucking the economy would come to a screeching halt since over 96% of Kenya’s cargo travels by road. The average journey from Mombasa to Nairobi takes around 25 hours according to data from Kenya Country Strategy Paper 2014-2018 a survey conducted by AFDB. With population growth, greater goods consumption, and increased demands from e-commerce and online shopping these numbers will continue to grow.

The operation of any supply chain has at its core the movement of goods from one point to another. There is a ton of energy spent on planning, forecasting, and supply chain design. But too often, the movement of goods is relegated to the task of calling a trucking company to pick up and deliver goods with no understanding or appreciation for the people who drive those trucks. Without truck drivers, the greatest plans will fail.

Last-mile delivery is a tough job. Being on the road for that amount of time and for long distances for the benefit of businesses and consumers, is done at a great sacrifice by the truck drivers themselves. They are away from their homes and families for extended periods of time.

Let us appreciate those who choose to be long-distance truck drivers. Every supply chain is reliant on the movement of goods, yet we often take for granted those that make this transportation possible.

Every stage of the logistics process of delivering goods is crucial from the time a parcel leaves the hands of the sender up to the time it arrives at its destination. This is called Last Mile Delivery.

While each step of the way should be taken seriously, there is no point higher in priority than that of the last mile delivery stage, where the goods from a transportation hub or warehouse move to their final delivery destination.

The goal of last-mile delivery is to transport an item to its recipient in the quickest way possible. This has been driven by the continuously evolving market and demand for convenient customer experience across industries such as e-commerce, retail, food, and many more.

There are important elements involved in the last mile delivery process that customers are looking for namely, speed, timeliness, accuracy, and precision of the product deliveries after reaching their endpoint.

It is quite ironic that the shortest and quickest leg of the whole logistics process is also the most crucial since it covers a lot of territories. The last mile delivery is more complicated since goods must be delivered to each of the consumers or businesses who purchased goods at different destinations.

This leaves the consumers or businesses the option to choose which company could provide the last-mile delivery service they need. This presents important factors businesses/ consumers must consider when going for the most efficient service.

Important factors to consider in choosing a Last Mile Delivery Service.

  • Fast Delivery – Businesses would always go for a fast delivery service with most preferring same-day delivery
  • Precise Order taking – The flow of information within the last mile delivery process is crucial particularly to know the status of the delivery. Precise real-time tracking is what is needed.
  • Security and Insurance – Providing a guarantee that goods will arrive safely is winning half the battle. It is for this reason that courier companies add a relatively low surcharge for insurance. This guarantee puts customers at ease.
  • Convenience – Courier companies with satellite agencies / branches in strategic locations. Technology has helped to change the game with apps that help provide a higher level of service.

The last leg of this logistics process is no walk in the park as these issues must be tackled.

  • Cost – The last mile is often the most expensive part of the process. To help reduce cost most service providers opt for same-day or next-day delivery. As demand for fast and convenient delivery continues to grow its most likely that the cost of last mile will continue to increase.
  • Efficiency – This is a challenge because of the sheer volume of end users the parcels need to be delivered to.
  • Transparency – Businesses want full disclosure on where their delivery is, in real-time so that they can manage their customers’ expectations.
  • Friction. – A smooth overall delivery experience is ideal to boost efficiency and cut cost. Improvements on e-commerce and dispatch software have made fulfilment of orders need less human involvement.

Technological breakthroughs are also helping businesses execute their last mile delivery service with increasing efficiency. Despite all these, they should still focus on continuous improvement of their services, and this is where companies like come in. effectively utilizes technology to automate the whole last mile delivery process from pick up to delivery. We have by far the most effective logistics solution that addresses issues revolving around last-mile delivery.

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