Technology & Innovation

SK Energy extends “sharing economy” concept with new tie-up with Korea Post

SK Energy is partnering with the government-run Korea Post to share each other’s business infrastructure. SK Energy has about 3,570 service stations and Korea Post has approximately 3,500 post offices across the country. Initially, they plan to share real estate, which combines the features of a postal office at service stations. SK Energy, Korea Post and GS Caltex also will discuss future shared infrastructure projects.

SK Energy has an on-going tie-up with GS Caltex, logistics start-up Zoomma and logistics giant CJ Logistics, to use their respective service stations as mini-warehouses for parcels. Called Homepick, the new business concept was launched in June and will go nationwide in August. The service is currently only available in the greater Seoul area, including Gyeonggi and Incheon.

The business model was inspired by SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won’s mandate to open up all assets and business infrastructure of SK affiliates to create more social and economic value. GS Caltex joined the endeavor, despite being a competitor, as its chairman also shares Chey’s vision, according to GS team leader Kim Nam-joong.

According to Zoomma CEO Kim Young-min, “It’s a win-win for both the logistics companies and gas station operators.”

Gas station operators earn on average KRW 2.5 million (USD 2,200) to KRW 3 million (USD 2,641) a month in profit, according to SK Energy’s network business development team leader Lee Myung-hee during a press briefing. Renting out idle space will help them earn extra income.

“Gas stations offer parking space for delivery trucks, they are everywhere in the country and they are also very noticeable, which makes it easier for delivery staff to find the station,” Kim said. “It’s also much cheaper to rent out space from gas stations than getting a separate office especially in places like the posh Gangnam area where real estate prices are high.”

An average Homepick office, which SK Energy and GS Caltex rent out to Zoomma, measures around 10 square meters. Zoomma staff collect parcels within a three-kilometer radius of a service station and store them in the office until a CJ Logistics staff pick up these parcels for delivery to their final destinations.

The proximity of their location allows Zoomma staff to pick up parcels within an hour of customers placing their orders. Unlike post offices where delivery fees vary by size and weight, Homepick offers a single price of KRW 5,500 (USD 4.84), making it convenient to send large parcels of up to 20 kilograms. Currently, the service is being offered at KRW 3,990 (USD 3.51) as part of the promotional launch.

Zoomma hopes to earn KRW 60 billion (USD 52.8 million) in revenues in its first year of operations, by handling 12 million parcels a year. The company hopes to grow to a size where it is able to handle 60 million parcels a year, which would raise its revenues to KRW 330 billion (USD 290 million) on its third year of operation. To reach that target, Kim said the start-up would have to hire about 5,000 drivers. Currently, it only has about 150.

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