A transshipment station set up at Bình Điền Wholesale Market in HCM City’s District 8 helps to ensure food supply. — Photo www.sggp.org.vn
HCM CITY — The HCM City Department of Industry and Trade has asked authorities in all 21 districts and Thủ Đức City to develop plans to reopen traditional markets and wholesale markets from October 1.
The move aims to ensure the supply of agricultural products, foodstuff and essential goods for local consumers.
The people’s committees of Thủ Đức City and 21 districts are required to assess infection risks and pandemic control in each locality before resuming operations of traditional markets and wholesale markets.
The city will gradually reopen its economy based on the pandemic situation and recommendations by healthcare authorities after September 30.
Special task forces in wards in the city that have been grocery shopping for locked-down residents have made more than 2.5 million orders to supermarkets and groceries since August 23, according to the department.
They took 45,180 orders on September 26, a decrease of 4.7 per cent compared to the previous day, the lowest number of daily orders since the work launched.
The numbers will continue to decrease sharply in the coming days because residents are increasingly shopping through online channels.
This may put pressure on the city’s wholesale markets and traditional markets as well as modern distribution systems.
The department will continue coordinating with departments and localities to closely inspect the implementation of safety requirements for pandemic prevention and control at markets.
To ensure food supply, the city is building a sustainable business model, especially for production chains of four key industries (mechanical engineering, pharmaceutical chemistry, food processing and electronics) and two traditional industries (textiles, leather and footwear), as well as supply chains for agricultural products and goods at wholesale markets.
It is promoting e-commerce so as to avoid in-person contact and reduce the risk of new infections.
The Department of Industry and Trade in collaboration with business associations will help businesses develop plans and solutions to meet compliance with criteria evaluating the safety of operations for businesses.
It will review the COVID-19 vaccine demand of businesses to speed up vaccinations for all workers, creating favourable conditions for them to resume work.
Three transshipment stations have been set up at the city’s three wholesale markets to ensure food supply.
On the night of September 26, the total amount of goods received at the transshipment stations at Bình Điền Wholesale Market, Thủ Đức Wholesale Market and Hóc Môn Wholesale Market were about 124 tonnes of seafood and vegetables, 118 tonnes of fruits, and 60 tonnes of vegetables, respectively.
Residents in green zones (safe areas) in the city have been allowed to go to the market once a week. People can go shopping for food or essentials once a week at nine supermarkets and 154 convenience stores in District 7, or at eight traditional markets in Cần Giờ District.
They can shop at a supermarket, a trade centre, 60 convenience stores, a price-stabilisation shop, six traditional markets, 81 selling stalls and 2 points selling agricultural products in Củ Chi District.
Delivery fees drop sharply
Delivery fees in HCM City have fallen and returned to the level before the city practised strict travel restrictions under the social distancing order.
The main cause is that many shippers have been allowed to resume operations.
Thế Lương, a resident in Thủ Đức City, told VnExpress online newspaper that he spent only VNĐ37,000 (US$1.63) for two meals ordered from a restaurant, six kilometres from his house, on September 28.
“I was surprised because the delivery cost was nearly half of that compared to previous days," he said.
Mai Thi, a resident in District 12, said she had free shipping for her online order of pork and vegetables instead of paying at least VNĐ35,000 ($1.54) per order.
The shop owner said it is easier to find a shipper than before, so she combined many orders of different customers for one driver to deliver. “She offered free delivery to me because my home is near her shop,” she said.
Quốc Triều, a shipper in Tân Bình District, said the delivery fee had fallen significantly in recent days due to the rising number of shippers and reopened shops, and smooth transportation through checkpoints.
Loship, a delivery startup, announced that the number of shippers returning to work has been increasing. It recorded 7,500 of 8,000 shippers registered with the company on September 28, a representative of the company said.
The order completion rate rose from 27 per cent last week to nearly 60 per cent. The company’s delivery fee has fallen by 50 per cent compared to the period with a shortage of shippers. — VNS