BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
STUNG by perennial fuel and electricity shortages affecting its operations, Zimpost — a quasi-government institution — is planning to invest in solar power and electric-powered vehicles to combat the challenges.
Zimbabwe has been, over the years, experiencing persistent fuel and electricity shortages, a situation that has affected many businesses in the country.
Zimpost, which transformed from being a provider of predominantly manual and low technology services to an entity that offers a wide range of technology-driven services, said solar power and electric-powered vehicles would address its challenges.
“Zimpost has been grappling with power and fuel outages affecting operations. Plans are underway to find alternative power back-up solutions like solar power, and electric-powered vehicles in future,” the company’s post master-general Sifundo Moyo said in emailed responses to NewsDay Business.
“Zimpost boasts of an unparalleled postal distribution network which is anchored by over 130 years of postal, logistics and courier experience. Cash shortages across the country have affected quality of service in payment of pensions,” he said.
With the border closures and the disruption to air routes worldwide due to COVID-19, Zimpost said mail conveyance between countries inevitably suffered.
It said the disruption of international mail services due to the suspension of most airlines affected international mail conveyance.
“The closure of industries and commercial entities, tertiary institutions, schools cut out about 80% of the Zimpost market. The post office, however, remained crucial in the distribution of food and medical items. Provision of domestic and international money transfer services and the provision of bureau de change services,” Moyo said.
During the national lockdown period, Moyo said the volume of local e-commerce increased significantly and they signed agreements with OK Mart, Gain Cash & Carry as well as pharmaceutical companies.
This, he said, will ensure that people observing the lockdown call based at home can still purchase groceries and other items while Zimpost delivers to their door step.
“This service also ensures that social distancing is facilitated as customers have an option of avoiding going to shops physically. Zimpost is also transporting tobacco from farms to auction floors which is a new business for the company,” Moyo said.
“The pandemic triggered a positive change in consumer behaviour. With quite a number of suppliers and customers alike, converting to online selling and buying. Zimpost is providing last mail delivery of goods bought from manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.”
He said Zimpost was consolidating its position as Zimbabwe’s premier postal services provider, adding that the post bureau de change services was now being offered at 21 post offices across the country, offering small value transactions that involve on-spot buying and selling of foreign currency or change currencies which might be in the form of bank notes, coins, international debit cards, Zimbabwean dollars, mobile money or bank balances.
“Through this variety of innovative value-added products and services, Zimpost believes that it is making a difference in the lives of people and communities at large.”