Shipping & Logistics

70,000 letter boxes up for rent as Posta braves tech invasion

A Kenya postal service worker collects mail. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A Kenya postal service worker arranges mail. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Postal Corporation of Kenya has advertised over 70,000 letter boxes to rent, indicating low uptake of the service even as the firm says that it is expanding its national network.

Postmaster- General Dan Kagwe told Shipping and Logistics that the letter boxes, advertised yesterday, were a mix of old and new ones.

In October last year, Posta indicated that it had about 50,000 idle boxes around the country meaning that there may have been significant abandonment since then. However, Posta also says that it has a number of new outlets in the country that now have letter boxes up for grabs.

“Some are new and some are old… I think we have opened about 10 (post) offices including Village Market, Karen Hub, Chaka and Two Rivers,” said Mr Kagwe.

The new Post Office at Two Rivers has 200 boxes up for rent. The General Post Office in Nairobi has the most vacant letter boxes, with 10,597.

The corporation last year offered a waiver that totalled to tens of millions of shillings in unpaid fees for letter boxes that had remained in default for lengthy periods.

This was an incentive to draw more customers, coupled with a discount for those who made two year advance rental payments.

In the most recent statistics from the Communication Authority, the number of letters sent locally declined significantly by 48.3 per cent to register 8.2 million in the quarter to June from 15.8 million letters sent during the previous quarter.

Further, International incoming letters declined to record 964,013 from 2.2 million letters received during the preceding quarter. Likewise the volume of letters sent to other countries declined to stand at 912,825 letters from last quarter’s 1.9 million letters.

Posta has been employing several varied strategies to woo customers including linking postal address boxes to their mobile phone numbers.

The company has been reaching out to the university-age demographic through its luggage-delivery service Travel Lite.

For customers who prefer operating virtual mail boxes, Posta has partnered with Taz Technologies to offer the M-Post service that allows clients the convenience of getting mails at the comfort of their homes or offices.

M-Post turns mobile phones into formal postal addresses. The 2015/2016 financial year was the worst on record for Posta as the firm recorded a Sh1.5 billion loss though revenues stood at Sh2.67 billion.