EmPost eyes overseas expansion

The UAE postal service’s courier arm may enter another GCC state as soon as next year

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By  David Ingham Published  October 10, 2004

Empost, the express courier arm of Emirates Post, is poised for expansion into other GCC countries next year. Exactly what form that expansion will take isn’t yet confirmed, but Essa Al Daboos, general manager of Empost, says customers will benefit from the move. “Some of our customers are active players in other GCC countries,” explains Al Daboos. “They know how efficient we are here, but they have not outsourced their deliveries in other countries because the right partner was not available. We would be able to provide them with [express courier] services to their branches in the GCC.” The company would also be able to bring its expertise in branding, its parcel tracking service and its experience in tailoring services for the needs of large corporations, such as banks. “A very important aspect of service is knowing how to help your partner,” comments Al Daboos. Discussions have already taken place with potential business partners and there are currently three ways in which EmPost might expand overseas. One way would be some sort of tieup with an existing player, another would be acquisition and the third alternative would be for the company to set up its own network, just as it has done in the UAE. “I’m looking and we have had enquiries from people who want to replicate EmPost in other GCC countries,” explains Al Daboos. Saudi Arabia is the obvious candidate for expansion, as it is the only country where mail volumes could come close to what EmPost enjoys in the UAE. Al Daboos says that an offer to work with government postal corporations in the GCC has been made and this remains on the table. EmPost has made its mark in the competitive express courier business in several ways. The company claims to cover every single inch of the UAE, something that it says rivals do not do, and 100% ownership of its fleet allows it total control over deliveries. “The problem with the private courier companies is that they concentrate only on the cities. We are the same as them in that we have to make a profit, but we will subsidise the services [to remote locations] from what we make on city services. Putting the two mentalities together, the government and the private, has created something very special,” argues Al Daboos. He is also proud of EmPost’s branding achievements. The company’s strategy has been to brand different courier services, giving them names that reflect what the service is about. For example, Jawaz, which translates as ‘passport’, is a pickup and delivery service for important documents. For Dhs 10, EmPost will deliver an item such as a passport to anywhere in the UAE within 24 hours. Other branded services include Health Pack and Ameel, which means ‘loyal customer’ in Arabic. “Jawaz is a courier service, but we have branded it, promoted it and now it’s very well known,” says Al Daboos. “In the UAE and Middle East it is unique to take a service you cannot feel or see and turn it into something that you can purchase off the shelf. This distinguishes us.” A further USP, according to the company, is its experience in tailoring services for larger corporate clients, such as financial institutions. “A courier company delivers items in the fastest time at the lowest cost. You distinguish yourself by coming up with a product that will suit your client and being a part of that supply chain management. Even within the same industry there are unique challenges,” says Al Daboos.

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