Logistics & E-commerce supply chain essentials in the Time of Corona. + Other Considerations.


  1. Allow all primary and 3P Logistics (including distribution companies of essential services, like food, vegetables, meat, medicines and consumables) to work on a closely monitored and managed schedule with LEAs(Law Enforcement Agencies)
  2. Ensure they follow basic health protocols and undertake volumes for distribution from principals who are either manufacturers or stockists or importers of these essential products.
  3. Allow all 3PL companies who do medical and health care deliveries & supply chain management particularly for hospitals.
  4. Instead of Making a list of all the parties(3PL) in the country and then allowing them one by one, allow all who are supporting clients in the following sectors
    • Pharma Companies
    • Retail Grocery Chains
    • Hospitals
    • FMCGS/CPGs who are producing soap/sanitizers
    • Local Manufacturers who are producing soap/sanitizers
    • Online Stores of known national and international retailers who have their own stocks or supply lines and will not fulfil orders based on market place many to one order flows (Many clients, one full-filler i.e the store)
    • Food distributors/Food Warehousing
    • Producers/Manufacturers of base ingredients for food supply chains
    • Mandi and fresh produce/growers
    • Water distribution companies, Nestle/Dasani/Aquafina/Culligan etc (door step delivery not to be stopped)
    • Meat and poultry producers/abattoirs and refrigerated shippers and store operators and their supply lines
    • Animal Feed and feed suppliers in the national supply chain for livestock
    • Livestock suppliers/breeders
    • Armoured truck companies (to take and replenish goods and cash)
    • Humanitarian and Aid/relief related activities by local, regional, global bodies
    • Importers of raw materials for formulations of medicines and critical food items
    • Printing packaging, box making and other producers of such items that aid in the supply chain.


  1. As an initial step, allow all fresh food , essential house hold grocery, soaps/sanitizers.
  2. E-commerce players and online store fronts and market places who do direct fulfilment or warehousing or storage on behalf of manufacturers or deliver directly from manufacturers.
  3. E-commerce shouldn’t mean people selling lawn/running 23rd march (week discounts), it should mean essential bread basket suppliers and market places who genuinely do one to many shipments or have the capability to do order taking and then rely on their 3PL partner to fulfil or do it them selves. Put an embargo of not ordering less than minimum basket size so people order carton load so multiple rider deliveries and touch points are not encouraged.
  4. Ideal to encourage e-com stores to do consolidated last mile so contactless deliveries are done outside door step. So quick response teams can go out city wide routes and effective fulfilment of needed quantities, it would also discourage corner stores to use their own riders and potentially leading to not following health protocols. But in times like these its best to set SOPs vs trying to outlaw every thing. People are opportunistic and will continue to try and out smart most controls for a quick return. Focus on making sure the masses have access to products due to a vibrant supply line.
  5. By day 4-5 you will see national fault lines appear in the supply chain logistics and thus likely a run on physical stores when people here stuff is not coming in, Thus use E-commerce retailers to promote access to fresh produce + packaged goods 24/7 and allow 3PL companies to do the needful even if round the clock services are to be maintained for delivery. Similarly a Federal policy to allow and support the same. Lock down enforcement doesn’t care for provincial notifications, it only care for laathi charge if people are outside, so the government should sensibly give coverage to the brave souls going cross country in trucks and ensuring deliveries vs ostracising them out on the roads. Similarly for last mile personnel.
  6. Use the CSD(Canteen Services Department) of the Army who is one of the largest national retailers to make 3 standardised Packs of goods, like a Ramzan box, 2,5,7k PKR, tie them with a national booking line(phone order taking) as they don’t have online capability to take order(maybe a google form) and tie them up with National 3PL to do bulk load deliveries as they are present nation wide. Get a combination of NLC and other players to tie up. E-commerce/Digital doesn’t mean a slick website, we have to get creative.
  7. Enable Via Telco’s the ability for National retailers to register for wallet accounts, so consumers can pay them electronically. Setup retail inward payment accounts so they can tally the payment with payers phone number (to check off delivery vs payment)
  8. Allow Bank to consumer retail cash delivery 10-20k PKR by partnering with Banks and 3PL players as people will start running out of cash. Also incentivise people to move money from banks(ibft) to wallets. Even consider giving a tax holiday to put cash into a wallet so the underground money can come to the economy.
  9. For those who don’t have wallets or degraded internet access(allow them to come to telco, franchises, 3rd parties like one load partner or 1link partner) locations to pay bills or cash in or cash out.
  10. E-commerce is not limited to grocery and essentials we have to include digital payments and also think about the marginalised population who doesn’t have bank accounts and relies on peer to peer payments coming in.

Other Short Term Considerations

  1. In sub-urban and rural settings, internet usage will drop when local or nearby markets and communities close, because a host of people charge their phones by paying 10-20 Rs a day to battery bank setups and store owners to charge. Thus easy paisa style payments will fall when this happens. Thus allowing franchise stores of Telco’s and others who do cash in cash out besides retailers may be key to allow for this vital supply line of electronic money to keep functioning. In times of crises this money supply is essential to buy products and services.
  2. Also allow mobile phone companies to give people larger top up credits based on their usage history. To encourage social distancing so they don’t have to go for reloads as much as possible.
  3. Partner with Google/fb to subsidise bandwidth
  4. Partner with Karandaaz/ Bill and Melinda Gates foundation to channelize grants to digital micro loans
  5. Do the same with ADB and IDB.
  6. Setup a #DigitalPakistan campaign to have expats donate FX/Setup a website to show live contributions, setup an account at a Bank here and tie with SBP to show $s incoming, tie with National charities to hand those funds over to them. Be the conduit. (Simple is to setup a page where people can charge their credit cards/billed in USD) Tie up with HBL or some one.
  7. Zero rate data for online learning sites for children who are stuck at home (Like Khan Academy and others)
  8. PTA to extend indefinitely all DIRBs pending applications that are delayed not for the lack of wanting to pay tax to the govt but the systems inability to churn out a tax invoice.
  9. Telcos to make SMS free for first and last mile players, banks and others.
  10. NADRA to cut down verification charges to Zero.

Based on the 1977 Gazette of Pakistan the List of Essential Commodities is already available as below.

One thought on “Logistics & E-commerce supply chain essentials in the Time of Corona. + Other Considerations.”

  1. Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! It is now our job to ensure this reaches the corridors of power! China used their ecom force to overcome the challenge of lockdowns! We can too! Thank you for giving such a detailed plan!

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