The Postal Corporation of Kenya (Posta) is one state corporation that has mastered the art of weathering storms to stay in business.
Millions in the country who for decades had totally depended on it for postal and money transfers, telegram communications among others had expected it to wither and die.
That is with the massive and supersonic technological revolutions in the recent decades that saw the emergence of the internet, the mobile telephone, the Short Messaging Services (SMS) and the Mobile Money Transfer among many other technology based services.
However, compounded with performance challenges as a result of the fierce competition, both local and international the Corporation is apparently determined to weather these storms with innovation and diversity.
This was witnessed late last year when the corporation ventured into yet another highly competitive segment of business in the country’s economy, that is long distance public transport bus services that a few years ago saw the crumpling of giants that had dominated the market – The Akamba Bus Services Ltd among others.
The CPK rolling out the multi-million shillings project is indeed one of the corporation’s major challenges, especially considering the fact that it is an area with deadly cut-throat competition all over the country.
Acknowledging the enormous challenges in his New Year message, the corporation’s boss Mr. Daniel Kagwe said he proudly looked at the history and growth of the organization with excitement and satisfaction in view of the milestones achieved so far.
“It is no mean fete registering this phenomenal growth even in the face of challenges that at various points wore us down. Once again, I say thank you for the collective efforts,” he said adding that 2015 witnessed a myriad of challenges.
“I am happy that we have kept our eyes and spirits trained on the objective and dream that unite us towards the growth and success of Posta Kenya and indeed I salute you for the starling performance”, Kagwe said.
He However acknowledged that there is an onerous task ahead in order to fulfill the dream as enshrined in PCK’s Corporate Strategic Plan (2013/16).
“Indeed it is clear that one of those onerous tasks ahead is transforming the Public Transport Services segment of business into a sterling performing and profitable business entity in a highly competitive cut-throat business segment of the country’s economy which is highly dependent on road transport”, the PCK boss said.
It is yet to be seen whether the introduction of the Standard Gauge (SGR) railway network will make any significant dent in the road transport.
The introduction of the “Posta Liner Buses Services” for passengers and parcel business across the country is a major development on the market for a state corporation whose core business for decades has been in letters, parcels and the now defunct telegrams – that is courier services popularly known as EMS Speed post.
At the time of rolling out this segment of business, the corporation said that it had discussions with the ICT ministry on how the strategy will be rolled out to push the parastatal’s revenues and profits upwards.
In the recent past, the country’s transport industry has had many challenges in the taxi industry the latest one being conflict between Uber and Kenya Taxi cab Association (KTCA) where traditional taxi drivers have resorted to bullying Uber drivers ostensibly because the firm charges highly pocket friendly fees compared to the exorbitant charged by KTCA members.
The Corporation has early failed in its business of offering postal services in the country due to introduction of Technology which has facilitated E-Communication.
Former Postmaster General Mr. Enock Kinara was widely quoted in the local media saying: “We have talked with Cabinet Secretary, Joe Mucheru and we are okay. The overall strategy is to be able to lower the cost of consignments as they travel across the county.”
“We are not breaking even and this project is meant to prepare us for e-commerce,” added Kinara as quoted by The African Business Fortune, when he flagged off 21 motorbikes to be used for mail deliveries across the country.
The Chief Executive at the time said the firm will by the end of this year have 30 buses- on lease arrangement that will cost the company in estimates of Kshs.15million and 20million monthly with the contracted commercial corporations.
According PCK, over 50,000 customers in Nairobi have signed for M-Post or Post Mkononi service launched in June last year where 19,800 had already paid for the services.
With the introduction of the Posta Liner which is a passenger luxury public transporter with highly affordable travel costs, Posta Kenya expects to increase its revenue from Kshs. 3.6 billion to 14 billion in the next three years through the bus service in addition to its mail, courier and payment services.
The buses which were flagged off during last year’s Christmas season on the Nairobi – Nakuru – Kisumu to Busia route from the City Square Post Office on Nairobi’s Haile Selassie Avenue where they are headquartered charges only Kshs. 1000 from Nairobi to Busia town’s Posta near the County headquarters.
Comparatively other operators on the same route like Easy Coach charges Kshs. 1, 500 from Nairobi to Busia, Modern Coach, Crown Coach, Buscar, Simba Coach, Tahmeed among others charge Kshs. 1, 200.
Kagwe says that The Posta Liner Bus Service is aimed at reducing tariffs charged for the Corporation’s parcel and letter transportation.
“By having the 62-seater buses, transportation of parcels and goods will be much easier and cheaper. The bus have 42 seats for passenger occupants and the rest for deliverables,” he says.
The postmaster-general has also expressed plans to digitise postal services since the state corporation had already partnered with international e-commerce platforms, such as Jumia and Kilimall, to use postal branches as drop off and pick up points for goods.
Among other services in the pipeline aimed at implementing technology in the company include virtual post office (email), Posta Pesa and electronic delivery boxes to eliminate person-to-person delivery.
The PCK has branches spread all over the country right from the Headquarters in Nairobi, Regional, Branch to the Sub¬ Post Offices countrywide.
It has Directors, Deputy Directors, Managers, Regional Coordinators, Business Coordinators, Branch Managers, Sales Officers and Postmasters in all these branches.
One of the key flagship projects that President Uhuru Kenyatta introduced right after taking over the Presidency was the introduction of Huduma Centres first in Nairobi but have since been spread all over the country in partnership with the Postal Corporation.
The Centres are meant to provide faster, efficient and effective government services to members of the public to stamp out the bureaucratic red-tape that had for decades characterized services sought by members of the public from various government ministries, departments and state corporations.
-Additional Reporting By Joseph Barasa