Having clocked countless deliveries, Lalamove has transported its fair share of unique and unusual items around the world. That’s typical for a start-up in the business of on-demand delivery.
The Hong Kong-based company helps customers of all stripes solve logistical issues. Most of them are run-of-the-mill – a restaurant restocking its kitchen, an e-commerce platform dispatching thousands of items or a customer wanting to transport his or her sofa. But, occasionally, a surprising order arrives.
From moving crates of durians to delivering fresh and frozen seafood, we take a look at four of the most interesting food shipments Lalamove has logged to date.
Before the pandemic struck, the king of fruits seemed resistant to digitalisation. Haggling with a durian seller over the prices of local favourites like Mao Shan Wang and pretending to know how to inspect the fruit seemed to be a quintessential part of the buying experience. Traditionalists would say it’s an experience that can never translate online.
But when the circuit breaker was implemented in April 2020, that all changed. Covid-19 changed our habits forever: applying hand sanitiser 15 times a day, normalising working in pyjamas and even our durian-buying process. When it came into season last June, durian deliveries shot up by 149 per cent on a year-on-year basis.
It helped that enterprising sellers shifted their efforts to reaching their customers online. They hawked their wares on live streams to mimic the physical experience and engaged customers on social media and messaging apps. More importantly, they fulfilled the ability to instantly gratify durian-hungry customers by providing same-day deliveries.
Bento on the move
Here’s an interesting challenge Lalamove received: deliver bento meals to 600 locations within 60 minutes. No, it’s not quite Fast & Furious-sequel material, but a unique assignment nevertheless.
This was the task Lalamove received last year, when the pandemic forced corporate events and seminars online. In a bid to stave off Zoom fatigue, several event organisers engaged Lalamove to deliver meals to liven up the day for seminar participants.
This posed a logistical issue. People eat lunch at roughly the same time; and few things make people more irritable than a meal that takes forever to arrive. Lalamove had to ensure it delivered the right meals within the lunch window.
Typically, Lalamove would optimise routes for its deliveries, which are planned such that a single vehicle can take the most cost-efficient route by clustering orders within a certain area.
But with its deep roster of drivers, Lalamove was able to amass the fleet needed to deliver the meals to the seminar participants with time to spare. By taking advantage of Lalamove’s flexible and scalable service, organisers paid only for what they used, whether during peak or lull periods.
Tingkats are trendy again
Tingkats are making a comeback. The tiffin carrier is a throwback to the 1950s, an era so beautifully depicted in the nostalgia-laced films of Wong Kar Wai. In those days, people subscribed to a meal plan that arrived in steel tingkat containers. Like a bamboo steamer, each compartment can be stacked and sealed shut to keep the food piping hot.
As people started eating at home more regularly, tingkat services also grew in popularity. It appeals particularly to those who don’t have the time or inclination to cook, but want a more affordable and healthier option compared with ordering from hawker centres and restaurants.
Lalamove served as the logistics arm for many of these tingkat services. Here’s how it works: new customers would receive a tiffin carrier with their first meal. For the next order, the Lalamove driver would deliver the meal and pick up the used tingkat, which would be returned to the establishment.
Customers could also check on the expected time of arrival of their tingkats. They could monitor the progress of their order in real time, enabled through GPS-tracking of the driver’s location – a boost for customer satisfaction. On the business end, it saved time spent resolving customers’ queries and allowed attention to be focused on clearing the dinner rush.
Snow crabs and A5 Wagyu to your doorstep
Not content with the offerings in supermarkets, some have turned to ordering directly from the wholesaler and saving money in the process. And with Lalamove, wholesalers can easily sell to retail customers without having to deal with the hassle of delivery.
To meet this rise in demand, Lalamove added cold truck capabilities to their fleet. These are 10 ft and 14 ft lorries equipped with refrigeration systems that help to maintain a consistently low temperature. This ensures perishables like snow crabs and A5 Wagyu beef stay fresh from the moment they leave the wholesaler right up to the pick-up point.
Lalamove is an on-demand delivery service catering to a wide range of transportation needs, ranging from the logistical requirements of brick-and-mortar stores to those of e-commerce companies and individual consumers.
Their drivers operate a wide fleet of vehicles, from motorbikes, cars, vans and trucks – enabling customers to receive almost anything of any size. Same-day and multi-stop deliveries are available 24 hours a day and can be arranged easily through the Lalamove app.