This lockdown has created a huge demand for food and grocery delivery services, but non-availability of delivery men has become a big problem for online shops
The country's online shops are overburdened with orders, while suppliers and delivery men have almost vanished, said people working in the industry.
Popular ride-sharing service providers Uber and Pathao have already suspended services following the government instruction to lockdown the country from March 26 to April 4, said officials of the companies.
This lockdown has created a huge demand for food and grocery delivery services, but non-availability of delivery men has become a big problem for online shops.
"There is a good demand, but delivery agents are not willing to work," Hussain Mohammed Elius, co-founder and CEO of Pathao, told The Business Standard.
Pathao, which has expanded its activities to food, grocery and pharmaceuticals in addition to its ride-sharing service, has around 5,000 delivery agents to carry goods to the customers' doors.
But most of them have left Dhaka, Elius said.
"Our delivery people usually work voluntarily. So, we can't force them to work under such a pandemic situation," said a senior official of another delivery service provider requesting not to be named.
There are some deliverymen, but they are not allowed to enter many buildings, he alleged.
Daraz, the largest online shopping platform of the country, has limited its services due to the non-availability of deliverymen amid the coronavirus outbreak.
"We are sitting on a huge number of orders, but we can't deliver the goods to our clients due to a lack of people," a Daraz official said.
The company has around 15,000 deliverymen and suppliers, but only 273 or less than 2 percent are available right now, said the official.
Jasmin Hossain Ridoy, a housewife who lives in old Dhaka's Bangshal area, said she ordered some goods from Chaldaal.com but the delivery time shown in the app is three days.
"I called them and they did not respond. Finally, I had to go to grocery shops to buy the food myself," she said.
Zubair Ibrahim, who works for a private company, said, "I could not get an Uber or Pathao today (Wednesday). None of the online-based commuting apps is working right now," he said.
When asked about the issue, Syed Almas Kabir, the president of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) said the situation is unprecedented and e-commerce companies are trying their best to cater to the needs of people.
"Such a situation has never happened before. Our e-commerce companies are trying their best to facilitate the services," he said.