Gokada to launch boat services, GBoat in 2020


Motorcycle-hailing startup, Gokada has announced its plan to launch a boat service by 2020 called GBoat.

In an email update to its customers, Gokada hinted that GBoat will help them escape ‘gridlock’ by escaping ‘traffic’.

Gokada’s GBoat will be restricted to Lagos State, its only market where over 20% of its landmass is occupied by water consisting of lagoons, rivers and the Atlantic Ocean.

The state currently has several boat and ferry operators running across Ikorodu, Lekki, Victoria Island and Ajah axis, however, their fairs are quite pricey and many have poor service quality and safety standards.

So, should GBoat plan to disrupt the market, it has to address cost, safety and service quality issues confronting the market.

The announcement is coming few weeks after Gokada said it raised about $5.3 million from new and existing investors.

However, Gokada has received a major competition from Opera Software AS’ ORide, a motorcycle-hailing service in the OPay mobile payment app.

ORide has started its services across Lagos and according to people close to the company there are plans for its expansion into logistics and other related services.

With its plan to take on Gokada at least in the motorcycle-hailing side of the business and the low barrier to entry, ORide could also launch its boat company at the same time with Gokada’s GBoat.

In the last three years, the Lagos State government has invested massively to upgrade ferry services infrastructure across the state. The government has built new jetties and it has expanded existing jetties to cater for larger passengers.

The government also invested in ferries and boats to be operated by third party companies. This means Gokada’s GBoat and perhaps, ORide’s boat services would be competing directly with the government and other companies running ferry services across the state.