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Shipping & Logistics

Competition, tech eat into Posta market

PCK workers collect letters
PCK workers collect letters at the General Post Office in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) has shut down 356 outlets in 20 years amid widespread use of mobile phones and entry of private courier firms that have reduced demand for its services.

Official data shows the Posta, as is popularly known, operated 585 outlets in 2019 compared to the 914 it had in 1999.

Entry of private courier firms such as Roy Parcel Services, Nation Media Group #ticker:NMG and security firm G4S into the market over the years has meant reduction of business for Posta.

“The number of post offices decreased marginally from 592 in 2018 to 585 in 2019 occasioned by the continued closure of under-utilised post offices,” says the Economic Survey 2020.

This compared to the 966 private courier operator outlets that have been opened in the last decade.

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Kenya currently has 1,588 private courier operator outlets compared to the 622 in 2009 and 330 in 2003.

The number of licensed courier operators went up by six percent to 229 in 2019 from 216 in 2018. Consequently, the number of private courier operator outlets rose by 54.6 per cent from 1,027 in 2018 to 1,588 in 2019.

Increased internet use by mobile phone subscribers has further depressed the demand for postal services. Data from Communication Authority of Kenya (CA) data and internet subscribers in the country rose 21.4 percent to 49.9 million at the end of June with 99.9 percent being on mobile data, offering the platform for online ordering and payment of goods.

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