UPU DG says Posts must digitalize and upscale to be competitive
At a conference on the future of industry, on 16 September, the Director General of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Bishar A. Hussein called on postal operators to digitalize and upscale in order to enter the competitive market.
Mr. Hussein’s comments came in a pre-recorded interview on digital communications shown at the global event New World Model: The Future of Industry organized by the UAE-based World Free Zones Organization (World FZO).
The UPU DG acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic had caused widespread disruption to the international postal sector. He added the cancellation of passenger planes had forced operators, with UPU’s assistance, to find new ways of moving mail across borders. Faced by these fluid events, he said posts needed to adapt, to be innovative and capable of changing their business model. “Posts must adjust to the new realities, the `new normal` as we call it,” noted Mr. Hussein.
Asked how postal operators should adapt to the present situation, the UPU DG highlighted the importance of postal staff. “The health and safety of staff who are on the frontline is paramount. But we have to learn to live with this pandemic, life cannot simply close down.” Returning to the role of posts, he said, “We have always found ways and means to adjust our products and services.”
Questioned about the emergence of new business models in the future, Mr. Hussein stressed that governments had opened up the markets. “What I imagine [for posts] is more collaboration, more involvement with the private sector in the Universal Postal Union at the headquarter level.” He said UPU would engage with them on their common interests.
Driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, the biggest crisis since World War II, the international postal industry with more than 650,000 post offices and over 5 million staff has rapidly diversified and shifted strategies to meet the changing needs of customers and governments. During the pandemic posts are recognized as essential service providers offering expanded social, financial, business and trade support to meet the needs of communities.
Launched in 2014, the World FZO is a global not-for-profit organization providing one authoritative, collective voice representing the interests of free zones around the world. The organization recently joined the UPU’s Consultative Committee that enables postal stakeholders, which are not public postal operators or regulators, to add their voices to the UN agency’s discussions.