Parcel mail volumes are surging forEmirates due to a growth in onlinepurchases, according to a spokespersonfor the carrier, making up for a declinein letter mail volumes.
"Post offices offer a better networkthan the integrators or other logisticsoperators as they are represented evenin remote villages of every country, sothey are capturing more of this traffic",says Challakal Harikumar, the carrier’scargo express and mail controller.
Meanwhile the trend towards thecontainerisation of mail, rather thanusing traditional mail bags, has continuedfor the carrier. It now accountsfor more than 60 of mail volumes onEmirates, more than double what it wasthree years ago.
Partly this reflects the movement oflarge amounts of mail from the US toits armed forces in the Middle East, allof which is unitised, but Harikumar saysmost postal authorities in developedcountries have now also realised theadvantages of containerisation in terms of the cost and security of mail.
He denies that the containerising ofmail means lower yields for the carrierwhen compared to traditional mail bagbusiness. "The cost benefit is shared byboth airline and post office," he says. "The per kilogramme rate comes downfor the post office, while the airlinebenefits from the optimum utilisationof the units – that is the revenue perunit goes up.
"Handling is also much more efficient when mail is transported by containers as opposed to mail bags, especially for Emirates, as more than 70 percent of our mail volumes transit through Dubai."
Post offices are also being more systematicin planning for mail shipmentsthan in the past, says Harikumar, withmany securing space in advance ratherthan delivering mail at the last minutewithout booking.
And they are becoming increasinglykeen to track their mail shipmentsin transit, with initiatives such as theCARDIT/RESDIT messages beingimplemented by the Universal PostalUnion, allowing carriers to track andtrace mail bags. SkyChain, Emirates’new cargo system is already capable ofreceiving these messages, and is testingout the new process with individualpostal authorities.
As the carrier starts its move intothe new MegaTerminal in Dubai, mailis set to get enhanced handling facilities.However Harikumar says that theexact details of these have yet to beformalised, and will not be determinedtill later in the year.
– Peter Conway