What have been the major trends in Oman's logistics and e-commerce market over the last year, and how are the future market prospects incorporated in your medium-term business strategy?
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Oman Post has informed the Universal Postal Union (UPU) of the measures we have taken in this regard. First and foremost, we want to maintain a safe workplace and adopt best practices to protect and ensure the safety of our customers, employees and communities across Oman, while ensuring the continuity of our services. We implemented stricter processes and procedures that limits customer walk-ins to all branches to appointments only. This step has been taken to eliminate customer interactions and support social/physical distancing. We realize the important role of postal services and will continue to be operational with only essential staff remaining on-site, while all other staff will work from home. During this time, we are offering customers key services to avoid interruptions. Customers will be able to visit one of our branches to collect or receive items by booking an appointment. Drop-off or pick-up procedures at branches all adhere to social distancing procedures. Mailbox contents and parcels can be delivered to customers' physical addressees through our latest door-to-door service, Asyad Express. Additionally, our online shopping delivery service Matjar from the US remain operational via www.matjar.om. Oman Post will continue to follow the directives and measures of the local and international bodies.
How do you expect demand across your services and client base to evolve in the medium term, and what will be the main factors and trend determining this evolution?
The industry has undergone a fundamental evolution over recent years that have been driven by technological advancements. This has resulted in a number of organizations including Oman Post reinventing themselves and moving into retail digitalization. We are growing our Express Mail Service business, creating more value for our increasing customer base. That's why we have made significant investments in technology to improve service performance as well as introducing new features to enhance our EMS service. The transformation of our EMS services is part of Oman Post's robust development strategy, Driving Transformation through Business Excellence, which is in line with the national logistics strategy to position the Sultanate as a leading trade and logistics hub. Focusing on optimizing core mail operations, enhancing our logistics network and international growth, this strategy also enables the goals set out in the EMS Cooperative's Business Plan. To meet the evolving needs of today's e-commerce customers, we have implemented a number of improvements including additional types of delivery such as home delivery and pick-up points through our recently launched door-to-door service Asyad Express, and new online features enabling customers to create orders for mail collection and delivery through the website. Another service available to customers looking to send letters or parcels to their friends and family across 220 destinations globally is the International Premium Express Mail (IPEX), which offers quality, convenience coupled with competitive prices. To remain competitive, we have centered our efforts on cost control, operations optimization, innovation, investing in logistics and expanding international networks, broadening financial services, and enhancing retail networks.
Where and how do you expect technological advancement to have the greatest impact on the logistics and postal industry, and what will be the main implications for both the supply and demand side in the market?
Leading-edge technology will form the foundation of our transformation, resulting in better counter-solutions, back-end solutions, and last-mile delivery solutions. While our current network comprises 83 branches across the Sultanate, we are looking at how we can enhance offering other products and services outside the traditional postal model. Oman Post is also diversifying its portfolio to include a broad range of services such as e-commerce. The Matjar online address forwarding platform allows customers to establish a virtual address in the US and other countries at competitive prices.