betty August 18, 2022

SINGAPORE – The three major food delivery companies here – Grab, Deliveroo and foodpanda – have joined forces to set up an industry association to represent digital platforms, in a move that could shift the dynamics within the sector.

Breaking from the typically cut-throat competition seen among e-commerce and online service platforms, the launch of the Digital Platforms Industry Association (DPIA) on Thursday (Aug 18) will see the three firms acting collectively to strengthen the industry’s practices and raise standards, they said.

It is unclear what impact the move will have on competition, and thus consumers.

The DPIA plans to identify areas for improvement and work with the Government and other stakeholders to create solutions that “reflect the voices of its delivery partners and merchants”.

It also intends to introduce an industry code of practice that will incorporate best practices and principles relating to the health and safety of food delivery workers, added the firms.

This development comes as the Advisory Committee on Platform Workers enters the latter stages of its deliberations.

Set up by the Manpower Ministry in September last year, the committee was tasked with looking for ways to better protect workers who rely on digital platforms for income, and it has been in active discussions with individual platform companies as part of its work.

Recommendations on how to improve retirement and housing adequacy, work injury compensation and bargaining power for cabbies, private-hire car drivers and freelance delivery workers are expected to be announced later this year.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the DPIA said its members will still engage individually with the advisory committee, as well as the Government and the National Delivery Champions Association, as each company has its own business model and interests.

There are also currently no plans for wider data sharing between members.

Instead, the intention is for there to be greater collaboration across the industry, said a DPIA spokesman.

“DPIA members are committed to working together to find common ground in the spirit of improving the platform ecosystem,” she added, without giving further details.

On whether the setting up of the DPIA could potentially affect competition or create conflicts of interest among its members, the association said it will comply with the rules of the Registry of Societies as well as the Competition Act in Singapore.

In a joint statement on Thursday, Grab, foodpanda and Deliveroo said the DPIA will help to consolidate the expertise of the three companies, and shape the development and growth of the digital platform industry within Singapore’s economy.

The three had previously teamed up in March to conduct a joint survey of 4,200 food delivery riders in Singapore – the first poll of its kind here.