ANKARA

At a time when the lockdown is forcing people to stay indoors to stem the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, courier services have become a lifeline for maintaining the demand-supply chain.

Braving threats of contracting the pandemic, courier service delivery boys and girls are reaching the doorsteps to deliver consignments, be that food, books, sanitizers, or health equipment.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, brand manager of Yurtici Cargo, Sezgin Akar, said during these times of pandemic, courier service carriers are the real superheroes rather than those from Hollywood, who perform extraordinary physical feats on the silver screen.

Yurtici Cargo is Turkey’s largest and oldest cargo company with 5,000 cargo vehicles and 16,000 employees.

Akar said that life in quarantine would have been more difficult for people if his delivery staff would not have been on the streets.

He, however, lamented that despite the individual e-commerce showing dynamism, the overall shipments have not recorded much boost, contrary to the expectations.

“There is an increase in shopping orders from residential districts but other than that there is no increase in the shipments compared to the pre-epidemic period. Many of our units are facing a serious decline in business,” he said.

Akar noted that due to the inability of people to go out on the streets for shopping, the individual e-commerce shipments have increased.

He mentioned that there is an increase in the orders of food products such as bread and mincing machines after people were compelled to go into self-isolation to avoid contracting the virus.

Also, there is an increase in the sale of books, sports equipment, soaps, sanitizers, and shaving products.

Protecting staff from virus

Yurtici Cargo has taken several steps to cope up with the traffic and to comply with orders from residential districts. They are changing shifts of the staff from low-density units to busier ones.

Akar said they have imposed some restrictions on their e-commerce purchases to keep the staff safe and avoid contracting the virus.

“As Yurtici Cargo we are Turkey’s largest and oldest cargo company with 5,000 cargo vehicles and 16,000 employees. But as you would also appreciate we have a capacity and we stop any cargo purchases that are harmful to our employees,” he said.

He said that the transfer centers and branch offices are regularly disinfected and the courier delivery boys or girls do not make any contact with the people.

“Instead of signing papers while receiving a consignment, a verification code is sent as a text message so no contact is made,” Akar said.

He said the company has come out with a crisis plans and is prepared to face all possible situations.

Workers require extra-motivation

“Cargo employees are one of the most valuable parts of the service industry today, especially during this period they play a key role in keeping the flow of life intact. It makes us happy that some of our customers are aware of this and approach our couriers with empathy,” Akar said.

He noted that some customers treat our staff as their family members and they give them cakes and bakeries during working hours.

Akar also noted that since workers need extra motivation at these hours, they have announced fringe benefits like a raise in salary, bonuses, and market checks.

“As a sector, we think that we have an important role in the fight against the epidemic. For this reason, we observe all precautions and continue our operations without any malfunction as our civic duty,” Akar said.

He said that the cargo business is vital for the healthcare industry and the entire supply chain. He maintained that courier services were performing this primary responsibility with their full potential.

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