Officials from the various GCC postal administrations recently gathered in Dubai to discuss their ambitious plans to create a transportation company, offering worldclass postal services throughout the region.
The project, which will require a multi-million dollar investment, has previously received a cautionary welcome from the logistics industry - identified as a potentially groundbreaking concept, which is likely to experience years of red tape before standing any chance of actually taking off.
However, much to the dismay of doomsayers, it seems progress is being made faster than initially expected. Several high-profile individuals attended the recent meeting in Dubai, organised by Emirates Post, including representatives from postal administrations in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
This was actually the second meeting held by the union and a third has already been confirmed in Saudi Arabia early next year.
So, what exactly is being planned? In basic terms, the six GCC countries are proposing the creation of a joint entity, which will be operated independently, offering a range of delivery options for mail and express items. The project has been designed to streamline operations and create economies of scale for each participating authority.
During a time when the postal sector is facing intense competition from electronic forms of communication, such as email and text messages, the timing seems perfect. In addition, the company will provide logistics services, including warehousing and value-added options, to compete with the region's leading 3PL services and capitalise on the current industry boom. This not only represents an investment diversification for the postal administrations, but also creates an additional revenue stream and, potentially, a greater competitive edge for everyone involved.
Of course, the investment required to turn this dream into a reality is immense and the postal administrations must examine whether a pan-GCC company is financially viable. A consultancy firm has already been hired to conduct a feasibility study, which should be completed by the end of 2007. If everything goes to plan, and the proposal is finally accepted, it should take between two to three years for the company to actually become operational. Either way, the postal administrations should be congratulated for thinking outside the box and providing an innovative approach to improving services for customers. We'll be waiting with baited breath for the final outcome...For all the latest transport news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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