E-substitution knocks down postal, courier volumes

Postal and courier volumes dipped by 9,3% in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 1 860 747 from the previous quarter, as the domestic postal unit took a battering from e-substitution.


In the previous quarter, volumes were 2 051 545.

According to the fourth quarter report by the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz), domestic postal, which accounts for more than half of the volumes, was down 15% to 1 264 901 in the period under review from 1 488 897 in the previous quarter.

“Domestic postal volumes are expected to continue declining with the introduction of electronic utility bills,” Potraz said.

Domestic courier and international outgoing postal and courier saw its volumes growing by 0,8% and 53,7% respectively.

Revenue for the postal and courier sector declined by 7,2% to $12 773 055 in the fourth quarter of 2017 from $13 760 736.

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In the outlook, Potraz said the postal and courier sector “continues to record depressed volumes and revenues”.

“The impact of e-substitution on the postal and courier business is expected to continue, as the data revolution gathers momentum. E-commerce needs to be supported, as it is a key driver of international courier volumes and revenues,” Potraz said.

There were worries the growth in technology would make postal and courier sector redundant. But Potraz director (Postal and Courier Services) Kennedy Dewera told NewsDay in January the sector was here to stay and would leverage on technology.
“The sector is there, is going to be there through the use of Information and communication technology and community information centres,” he said.

Dewera said a review of the postal sector policy was underway for it to be in sync with reality on the ground, given the ever-changing technological environment.

The current policy was put in place in 2001.

“The authority, working closely with its parent ministry, commenced the process of facilitating the review of the National Postal Sector Policy. This process is expected to be complete before the second quarter of this year,” he
The reviewed postal sector policy, Dewera said, would pave way for the review of the Postal and Courier Services licensing framework, which is the domain of Potraz.

Dewera said Potraz had realised that a lot of factors have changed over the past 17 years and that there is need to revisit the licensing framework in order to bring all the illegal operators into the fold.

Currently, there are three licence categories for the Postal and Courier Services sector — the postal services general licence, the international commercial courier licence and the domestic commercial courier licence.

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