To some extent, startups in the Nigerian transportation and logistics industry have solved the intra-state logistics problem, especially in its commercial capital, Lagos. Nevertheless, one of the leading brands in the logistics industry in Nigeria -- GIG Logistics -- is set to go all in.
The company is taking its logistics offering a step further by launching a mobile app and a digital hub in the heart of Lagos.
The digital hub -- located in Gbagada, just along the Apapa-Oworonshoki expressway -- has offices for staff as well as a warehouse facility which, according to Ayodele Adenaike, will serve as a sorting centre for items coming into or going out of Lagos.
Ayodele is the chief operating officer at GIG Logistics.
Shipments within Lagos will be delivered in a 24-hour window because they won’t go through any of its collection centres: shipments go directly from the sender to the receiver.
Only items meant for other states go to the digital hub through its collection centres.
“In the business of logistics, you need to be as close to your customer as possible,” he told Techpoint over the phone on the choice of Gbagada for the digital hub.
Gbagada is easily accessible to both Lagos island and mainland as well as the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Also accessible to the Apapa seaport, it is about a 24-minute drive to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
On its closeness to the airport, Ayodele says this is to help meet its foreign demand. Worthy of note is that the company recently opened shop in Ghana with plans to expand to other African countries like Rwanda and Uganda.
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Also, GIGL currently maintains a hub in Houston, Texas, which is strategic considering that the state has the highest number of Nigerian-born immigrants (PDF) in the United States.
There are also plans to expand to a couple of other cities like Chicago, Atlanta, and Maryland among other places with a high Nigerian population. According to the COO, GIGL will also be expanding to China and Dubai.
While there’s currently no demand for sea shipments, Ayodele pointed out that the proximity to Apapa will be important when the company starts getting such demands.
He affirms that international shipment currently accounts for a minute percentage of business which he claims is expected to grow as the company expands to more cities and countries.
According to Head of Marketing and Communications at GIG Group, Emmanuel Ebanehita, "the new digital hub will support GIG Logistics in offering quality service to its Social Commerce customers. We want to make selling very stress-free for our customers with our utility Web application."
On the need for the creation of a digital hub for the company, Ayodele said the previous facility in Iyana Ipaja became inadequate to handle its demand.
And to handle the demand, the company will be working with third-party drivers. Ayodele reveals that it’s a wise decision considering the traffic situation in Lagos as well as the reduction of the company’s financial burden.
“Instead of buying 200 vehicles, we can just partner with 200 people that have one or more vehicles.”
Working with the partners would ensure that GIG Logistics always has the capability to deliver more logistics services.
Taking it mobile
Part of plans to power the digital hub is the launch of a mobile app -- GIGL Go -- and its web platform.
IT Team Lead at GIG Logistics, Ehioze Iweka, says the mobile app -- which is currently ongoing beta testing -- is built to make shipment more convenient for users.
Using GIG Logistics mostly requires a visit to any of its terminals to register the shipment. When the app is launched, individuals and eCommerce businesses will be able to make shipment requests from the comfort of their homes/offices.
On the app’s registration page you can choose to register as an individual or an eCommerce business.
And it’s as simple as registering a shipment on the mobile app or website. Users even get to select the vehicle that’s suitable for their items, the category of the item, and estimated weight after which a picture of the item is uploaded.
You then get an estimated cost and the assigned delivery agent comes to pick up the item.
Once a shipment has been accepted, the receiver gets a shipment notification and both the sender and receiver can monitor the item’s status at any point in time.
The app has a wallet system which implies that you don’t have to enter your debit card details each time you want to send an item.
Ehioze reveals that they are considering adding more features to the mobile app, one of which will allow senders know the estimated time of arrival (ETA) of the delivery agent coming to pick up an item.
They are also working on using artificial intelligence to get a more accurate weight of an item through its picture.
Despite having eCommerce business as one of its targets, it appears GIG Logistics is not after the big players in the industry. The company has packages for small eCommerce businesses which come at an affordable rate.
“Our focus is that Chioma who sells shoes aside her 9 to 5 job,” Ayodele affirms.