According to all-women third-party logistics start-up Even Cargo, e-commerce companies are increasingly opting for women in last-mile delivery roles because they see a decrease in accidents and thefts, turnover and absenteeism rates, as well as increased customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.
At the height of the e-commerce boom in 2016, the start-up was created to provide a safe option to e-commerce companies who were experiencing multiple complaints of female consumers being harassed by male delivery people. However, according to COO Karina Bhasin, the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) push by organisations today is what has fueled growth.
In Delhi-NCR, Udaipur, Jaipur, Ajmer, and Nagpur, the start-up, which has a fleet of 250 women riders, provides services to top e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Clovia, and others. It intends to have offices in Nasik and Hyderabad shortly.
Apart from teaching women to drive, it also assists them in purchasing a vehicle, which costs between Rs 60,000 and Rs 80,000, by connecting them with finance organisations for low-interest loans and discounted autos, as most of the women lack a credit history or a bank account. But, as Bhasin clarifies, it’s not a freebie.
“For the down payment for the two-wheelers, we try to do as much as possible in the form of loans and there haven’t been any loan defaults yet…Suppose it’s a 22-month EMI tenure and the rider leaves Even Cargo after 3 months, the vehicle is still theirs and they can work with any other organisation but the asset will remain in their name and they just need to manage their EMIs,” Bhasin further stated.
The EMI is deducted from their monthly salary, which ranges from Rs 28,000 to Rs 30,000 for individuals with two years of experience.
Bhasin claims that the start-up is not backed by private equity and is profitable, but it does receive funding for its training programmes from organisations such as the Shell Foundation in the United Kingdom, DBS Foundation, Walslitz Global Citizen, Michigan State University, RPG Foundation, Singapore YIF, and Chibber Trust, among others.