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From Dubai with love

An interview with Obaid M. Al Qatami, Acting Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates Post

Emirates Post regularly ships mail from the UAE to the US. We sat down with Obaid M. Al Qatami to discuss the specifics of this route and how Swiss WorldCargo’s Zurich hub serves as a vital connection here.

How much mail does Emirates Post send with Swiss WorldCargo to European and North Atlantic destinations (via DXB-ZRH) per month?
Emirates Post entrusts approximately nine tons of mail per month to Swiss World Cargo to ensure the safe and efficient delivery of mail to European and North Atlantic destinations.

Where is the traffic originating?  
The traffic originates from all Emirates within the UAE.

Can you tell us more about the background? Who are your customers? What do they need to ship exactly? What are their requirements?
Our customers vary and include both regular and account customers who have personal or business shipments. Through Swiss WorldCargo, we offer a range of shipping options that best suit customers’ needs and enable them to send small or large packages internationally.  

Why do you choose Swiss WorldCargo for such destinations?
Swiss WorldCargo has been a trusted partner for several years as they offer exceptional service, quality ground handling and innovative technologies and processes for their shipments to ensure fast response and timely delivery. They also provide valuable support through their Relationship Managers.  

Our partnership offers great opportunities for both our customers and us and underscores our commitment to provide innovative services.

What are your expectations in service excellence?
At Emirates Post, we strive to achieve excellence through innovative new service solutions and high-quality standards that produce enhanced competitive advantage. We expect the same standards of any of our partners and our main requirement is that mail is delivered safely and on time day-in-day-out. Reliability and efficiency are key to our successful partnership.

Obaid M. Al Qatami, Acting Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates Post
Obaid M. Al Qatami, Acting Chief Commercial Officer, Emirates Post

Which processes are key for you and your customer, to cover the business requirements?
We are a consumer-centric organization and we know that consumers demand fast and secure delivery. Quick response is also essential. When it comes to customer service, on-time delivery can become a confidence builder and a value-added competitive advantage.

How do you address safety and security at the time of acceptance of parcels (e.g. hidden DG checks)?
We use up-to-date security protocols to ensure the highest level of safety, as we believe that this is critical to supporting worldwide commerce. Our scanning performance and data transmission KPIs are aligned with UPU and IATA global standards.

All customers who are shipping goods overseas must complete a Customs Declaration CN23, which contains information about the nature of the goods and the country of origin. Customers must also show the goods that they are shipping to an Emirates Post employee to verify that the items are not prohibited or dangerous before they are thoroughly inspected by customs.

Do you undertake any further security measures post bagging the contents and prior to handover to carriers?
Yes. Before the handover to carriers, Dubai Police conduct another security check.

Do you see a growing trend in this business?
Yes – the rise of e-commerce and proliferation of new technology has dramatically changed the postal industry and, as a result, the demand for courier services is growing.

If yes then do you require a specific service from carriers against an additional price?
E-commerce is an area of continued growth. The challenge is that with so much competition, how do we stand out? We are gearing ourselves to meet the emerging demands of the expanding e-commerce sector with numerous different measures such as an increased focus on last-mile delivery by optimizing our branch network, and investing in new systems and geolocations solutions to make the whole process seamless.

We also seek to have our airline partners, logistics partners, and postal network support the growth of domestic and international e-commerce trade and invest in R&D for onboard tracking, temperature control tracking, and upgrading on-ground operations at destination.

What are the trends in the airmail business at the moment, and what developments do you forecast for the future?
E-Commerce is a major growth driver for the airmail industry as online shopping boosts demand for parcel delivery services worldwide, and therefore there is an increasing need for visibility and easy returns, all of which impact the logistics chain.

There is a focus being placed by supply chain R&D teams to explore AI and inflight fulfilment capabilities as a key focus.

We have also witnessed a change in customer preference from same-day and next delivery to guaranteed delivery even if it takes longer. Consumers are increasingly shopping for lower prices and greater convenience. A one-sizes fits all delivery solution does not exist and would not work. At Emirates Post, we are committed to catering to the differing needs of our consumers, both corporations and individuals.

“End-to-end visibility” of shipments is one of the biggest challenges in the postal business/e-commerce ecosystem because of the large number of players involved. Where do we stand with digitalization and message exchange? And how is your company coping?
With so much technology at their fingertips, customers now want and expect visibility of their mail, from origin to delivery. At Emirates Post, we provide Track & Trace on our premium and express delivery services.

We have built APIs that read and exchange data across the touchpoints of a shipment’s journey. The support from our partners to connect their systems to our API’s allows for alignment and greater visibility through the provision of onboard tracking, tracing connecting flights and on-ground movements at destination, leading to the last mile delivery.

This enables end-to-end visibility across all our services for customers to check the progress and location of their delivery. 

In 2020, Dubai will host the World Expo: what are the opportunities for your country and for your business?
Expo 2020 offers the UAE unparalleled opportunities for sharing innovations and knowledge, forging new business partnerships and promoting new trade. We are extremely excited about Dubai being the first country in the Middle East to host the prestigious event and are confident that it will drive the UAE’s economic growth for years to come.

As the leading government-owned postal and express provider, we look forward to positively supporting the success of the Expo 2020 by providing cost-effective delivery options for exhibitors through our strong postal network. The non-postal services that we offer also positions us as a key partner for Expo exhibitors and visitors.