JEDDAH: UAE’s Forward Delivery (FODEL) is launching its pick-up and drop-off network into Saudi Arabia as part of its expansion across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).
The tech startup offers an alternative to home delivery by setting up a network of locations for customers to pick up their orders. The service facilitates access to buyers’ shipments while ensuring packages are not lost or delayed.
FODEL helps retailers with revenue by increasing visitation to stores while minimizing last-mile logistics for delivery companies in Saudi Arabia, where the company estimated that delivery failure rates were as high as 40 percent, leading to customer complaints.
The service also reduces one of the most prominent e-commerce issues for retailers, which is return-to-origin delivery.
Soumia Benturquia, CEO and founder of FODEL, said that the e-commerce market “has been booming” in the GCC, forecasting that the sector will be worth $20 billion by the end of the year.
“E-commerce is part of the fundamental pillars of Vision 2030, and we are extremely proud to launch our operations in KSA and contribute to the Kingdom’s growth. With a young, tech-savvy population, Saudi e-commerce penetration is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, and we hope to offer our customers more convenience and control with our pick-up and drop-off solution,” Benturquia told Arab News.
Hamdi Osman, chairman of FODEL and a former senior vice president for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Indian subcontinent at FedEx, said that the tech startup has managed to “transform the last-mile delivery model for the entire logistics landscape in the region.”
“Its disruptive technology and proven business model add great value at every step of the supply chain while providing flexibility and peace of mind to the end users of courier services,” he added.
In addition to the Kingdom, FODEL is broadening its services to cover other GCC countries, including Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.
By working with over 2,000 merchants in the Kingdom, the UAE, Kuwait and Oman, FODEL turns merchant locations into pick-up spots where consumers can collect their shipments themselves.
The startup was launched in 2018, and it has received funding from investors and advisors such as Cultiv8 Investments in Dubai (a subsidiary of the Mohammed bin Rashid Fund for small and medium enterprises), Al-Rajhi and Hamdi Osman.
FODEL currently has more than 1,000 pick-up locations available with many leading e-commerce and logistics companies in Saudi Arabia.