Uber Gives UN Food Delivery Platform for Ukraine Relief

Uber has upped its market charm offensive by supplying agents for the United Nations a bespoke version of its home delivery platform for mercy missions in war-torn Ukraine.

The BBC reports the ride-hailing company has built a “private-label” version of the food and drinks delivery platform that has helped it weather the collapse in ride-hail revenues during the global pandemic. Now the company is working with the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) to deliver vital supplies in Ukraine’s battle zones because it has become difficult for large delivery trucks which too easily become targets for Russian attacks.

Uber’s platform enables the WFP to co-ordinate a fleet of smaller vehicles, hand-picking its own drivers and vehicles although some are former Uber drivers who worked in Ukraine before the Russian invasion. Uber boss Dara Khosrowshahi said his firm had given the WFP “their own private-label Uber”. Usually, businesses pay the company a commission per delivery for the service but the WFP will get this free of charge. It can use the software to co-ordinate distribution, and track deliveries and drivers within a 60-mile range of its warehouses. The scheme is being piloted in the central city of Dnipro with the hope being that it will be rolled out later across four other cities, including Lviv, Vinnytsia, Kyiv and Chernivtsi.

Uber’s delivery arm is now poised to become the firm’s biggest service. In 2021, 96% of Uber’s delivery orders were for restaurant food. It was also the first year in which the 13-year-old firm reported a profit. Khosrowshahi, told the BBC: “I ultimately think that delivery can be bigger in scope because it’s not just about food. It’s groceries and also empowering any local merchant to try to out-Amazon Amazon. If Amazon can deliver next day, your local merchant can deliver in the next hour or two hours… people want delivery of everything at home as quickly as possible and we can ride that wave.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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