Interview

 

Peter Somers, Chief Executive Officer, Emirates Post

Peter Somers, Emirates Post

Have a read of our exclusive interview with Peter Somers, who will be providing a Keynote Address and taking part in the Leaders’ Forum, ‘Global, digital and sustainable: preparing for the next paradigm in logistics’, at Leaders in Logistics Summit 2022,.

In the lead-up to the event, we’ve hosted an exclusive interview with Peter to reflect on how the past couple of years have proven a critical period for innovation and transformation within the logistics industry. Solving the demand for global e-commerce logistics is a key mission of Emirates Post and one that Peter is determined to tackle. Find out how below!

“For the last two years, Emirates Post’s key focus was on the transformation from a mail oriented domestic postal player into a last mile logistics player that operates domestically and internationally.”

How would you summarize the past two years for Emirates Post? 

For the last two years, Emirates Post’s key focus was on the transformation from a mail oriented domestic postal player into a last mile logistics player that operates domestically and internationally.

 The Covid-19 pandemic fast tracked our plans – and I must mention that we never shut down during this challenging period. We saw our domestic parcel volumes double with the increase of online shopping and deliveries. I witnessed the extraordinary dedication of our employees, especially the front-line teams. We also recognized that this shift in our customer behaviour, and the increased dependency in parcels through e-commerce growth was the right time to rapidly increase our transformation. This mainly focused on upgrading our operations, improving the customer experience, expanding our operational capabilities, increasing our touchpoint network in the UAE, and driving domestic and international growth for e-commerce. We made these investments as the foundation for our mission to connect businesses and communities in the UAE and beyond with smart and reliable solutions.

“Emirates Post aims to be the leading postal and e-commerce logistics provider in the Middle East and investing in our digital journey is paramount to achieving this.”

In what ways has Emirates Post transformed to become more digitally-enabled, and what are the next steps ahead in the digitisation journey?

Emirates Post aims to be the leading postal and e-commerce logistics provider in the Middle East and investing in our digital journey is paramount to achieving this.

 For instance, minimizing physical contact was a real outcome from the Covid-19 pandemic so this required us to rapidly adapt using technology as the enabler. And we did so by being amongst one of the first companies in the UAE to move to contactless transactions, developing and implementing systems and technologies to allow contactless payments, and using scanners instead of physical signatures. Furthermore, we upgraded our website and launched our mobile app, and in 2021 introduced a range of digital services including registered mail, SMS and document delivery, customized parcel and delivery options all under the umbrella of the ‘epbox.ae’ service.

 We also have a 360-degree customer approach, with a portfolio of services ranging from domestic to international, along with bespoke value-add and business solutions.  Additionally, our refurbished modernized branches are centered on an enhanced digital experience to give our customers more choice, convenience, and a seamless experience.

 

How is Emirates Post expanding its operational capabilities to support the growing trend of e-commerce parcel logistics? 

Our core focus is on market leading service performance and operational efficiency, driven by customer experience and big data analytics. We succeed due to our agile decision making and continue to invest in operational systems. At Emirates Post, our efforts are on network expansion and service capabilities, including the launch of collection services such as a Pickup & Drop Off (PUDO) network and a parcel locker network. Moreover, we believe that investment in core infrastructure to supplement Emirates Post’s hyper local network will provide 3x more capacity over the coming 3-5 years. And in the expansive digital age we have to secure new robot-based parcel sorting systems within our key locations across the UAE; plus launch a fleet electrification program in alignment with Emirates Post’s long term sustainability strategy.

“The e-commerce market is now expected to grow by almost USD 11 trillion between 2021 and 2025.”

How do you envisage the world of e-commerce logistics evolving over the next five years?

The world of e-commerce is changing so hastily, so it’s hard for me to predict the future. However, there are a few areas I will highlight based on the current global and GCC e-commerce trends.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced businesses to invest in advanced technology to retain and acquire new customers who needed to buy and sell online hassle free – as a result, the e-commerce market had exponential growth. The e-commerce market is now expected to grow by almost USD 11 trillion between 2021 and 2025.

 Artificial intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) are transforming the e-commerce experience such as AI-enabled chatbots and personalized shopping. New payment options are another area where the last mile customer experience is evolving. I must also mention the importance of having the right agile systems in place to supply accurate data. The right data empowers leaders to keep abreast of the changing trends and shifts in customer behaviour, to then be able to make the right decisions on how to provide the best customer-centric solutions– ahead of the competition.

“Due to the low barriers of entry e-commerce sites are launching each day, with an estimated 12-14 million e-commerce sites globally. Therefore, the heightened competition for the customers attention is at an all-time high.”

Besides, due to the low barriers of entry e-commerce sites are launching each day, with an estimated 12-14 million e-commerce sites globally. Therefore, the heightened competition for the customers attention is at an all-time high.

 Also, digital advertising costs will continue to rise with less returns on spend. I believe to stay ahead of competition and stand-out from the crowd, it will be essential for businesses to increase their budget investment into more brand building and customer acquisition campaigns.

Now looking specifically at the Middle East – the retail growth is projected to become almost USD 50 billion by 2025. Across the GCC, most e-commerce users are digitally savvy and the millennials accounts for 60% online shopping with an average spend of USD 1,500 annually. Emirates Post sees great opportunity in the e-commerce growth, and we are well positioned to play a significant role in the GCC and beyond. Through our international e-commerce business, we want to be recognized as the UAE postal operator that is the gateway to the world capitalizing on major international flows from China to Europe and the US. Our ambitions are for Emirates Post’s logistics assets in the UAE to be leveraged globally.

My team and I continue to monitor the e-commerce logistics market as we aim to be market leaders by providing +1000 touch points across the UAE, and increasing convenience in pick-up and drop-off network services. In addition, our aspiration is to increase our partnerships and international footprint to provide all our customers seamless experiences. Our goal in the next five years is to position Emirates Post as the best-in-class last mile logistics leader by investing in the right systems, tools, fleet and of course our people.

Peter Somers is a strategic executive and entrepreneur in the Postal & Logistics industry. He is founder of the e-Commerce logistics company SprintPack and co-founder of SKS & Partners, a network of E-Commerce Logistic consultants. He was member of the Executive Committee of bpost, the Belgian Postal Operator, till July 2014 and was CEO of bpost Parcels & International, and is now CEO of Emirates Post.

Want to hear more from Peter? Join him at Leaders in Logistics Summit on 22-23 March 2022 at Tivoli Hotel and Congress Centre, Copenhagen. Peter is speaking in Session 1: The future of the parcel and postal industry. Get your ticket here.