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Postal Corporation of Kenya must adapt-or-die

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TECHNOLOGICAL advances in the Kenyan market could soon render the Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) extinct as most people opt to communicate through email or SMS rather than conventional mail.

There has been a decline in revenue collection by the corporation from mail delivery services that has been on a steady decline as a result of the emergence of new technology.

Post Master General Hussein Ali said they were planning to place more emphasis on technology use in their operations as the only way the state-owned corporation could remain in business.

“In future we will be focusing more on boosting our EMS (Express Mail Service), parcels and financial services businesses as our main streams of revenue as well as meeting changing consumer needs,” said the former Police Commissioner.

He said that mail delivery has been on a 2% annual decline with social mail taking the greatest beating from social sites and emailing services.

Speaking at the Universal Postal Union Strategy Conference in Nairobi, where over 550 delegates from 132 countries are meeting, Universal Postal Union (UPU) Director General Eduardo Dayan said all postal sectors worldwide should re-think on how to take advantage of new technologies coming up in the market.

“By adopting technology, postal corporations will reduce the gaps between member countries,” Dayan said.

The world’s posts processed and delivered an estimated 411 billion domestic letter-post items and 5.2 billion international items in 2008, totalling 416 billion pieces worldwide.

Overall letter-post volumes are declining gradually, and the financial and economic crisis has accelerated this trend.

The bulk of letter-post volumes consist of business mail; personal mail represents only a small portion of overall volumes — between 5 and 11% of volumes, depending on countries.

Ali said that rather than fight technology use, the corporation would be taking advantage of it to complement its business.

Kenya is among four countries from across the globe that have been chosen by the UPU to pilot the post service in mail delivery system.

PCK has also created a clearing and forwarding department to deal with bulk mail handling at the port of Mombasa, which it will be looking to outsource services and generate more income.

Ali said the postal corporation would be using the platform to push for the standardisation of certain courier restrictions to create a level playing field for postal unions and private companies.

“At the moment a number of parcels can’t travel by air because commercial airlines are cagey about some of the things contained in the parcels while private operators are at liberty to move whatever they want because they own their planes,” he said.

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