Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 21st 2014 Contents BG6 | NEWS
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt AUGUST 2014 • WEEK THREE
The T&T Postal Corporation (TTPOST) is
reporting July 2013 year to date revenue of
$74.8 million, said chairman Dr Franklin Ali.
The corporation in its early stages in 2006
employed 1,200 employees, but that has been
reduced to an estimated 1,100.
Ali, who is also the chief executive officer
at the Government Human Resource Services
(GHRS) Company Ltd, spoke to the Business
Guardian last week Wednesday at Mulchan
Seuchan Road, Chaguanas.
Commenting on the performance of TTPost,
Ali said there have been increases in such
operating costs as salary adjustments, admin-
istrative costs and operating expenses.
Though the corporation generates its own
revenues, it is not 100 per cent independent
and therefore depends on government sub-
"In 2009, the corporation received $47 mil-
lion in subventions, and for 2012/2013 it was
at $40 million. At the end of the day, the aim
is to increase operating revenues, manage our
costs and, in so doing, manage our dependency
He does not see TTPost's subventions
While globally, social media and the Internet
have almost consumed the traditional mail
market, Ali said based on TTPost's volume of
letters and parcels inbound and outbound,
total volume in 2009 was 68.1 million and
63.1 million as of September 2013.
"What you are seeing is decline in traditional
mail over the last five years. However, the
biggest revenue earner is bulk mail. What we
are seeing for the past five years is that it is
holding steadily between 36.3 million and 35.2
million. Now that is important to us because
it is saying the business community continues
to generate mail and continue to use the postal
service. The down side is that type of the
business is not growing exponentially and
that's the life blood of revenue for the cor-
One of the services TTPost previously pro-
vided was Bill Pay, which was discontinued
in 2011. In a statement in early October 2011,
TTPost said it was confident this decision "is
in the best interest of the postal service in
sustaining its long-term viability."
Ali said trends are showing that postal
administrations throughout the world are
offering banking services, financial services
and electronic services.
"The fact that we have given up Bill Pay
some time ago to me was a very poor move.
Where we have positioned now nine/ten
months after this board has taken up its man-
date, we are saying we need to get the basics
right. If the business is about mail, are we
delivering on time, is our service good and
what are our customers saying?" he said.
He said it is important for the business
community to have a reliable courier service,
and therefore TTPost's service in that market
segment has to improve.
"In addition to having partnership with
major courier companies where they can ship
things down for us to deliver, we need to target
the large companies here, to suggest to them
they shouldn't use their own messengers, give
it to TTPost couriers. We should be targeting
business to business market such as T&TEC
and TSTT. Why outsource to private operators
when we have the largest courier network that
can take your packages, and take it anywhere
in the country?"
He said before that can be established, the
business community needs to be convinced
the quality of service is up to standard.
"I don't see us doing what some of the
developed countries are doing - they are going
into banking services. I don't see us being a
player in banking services. If you look at the
spread of financial institutions, they are at
almost every point in the country. If we are
to enter into that market, given the fact that
our network of offices have been reduced, our
physical infrastructure is not conducive to
banking type operations."
Ali said TTPost has lost a part of the busi-
ness-to-business courier market to small
entrepreneurs who penetrated the market.
"There are about 15 or 17 domestic courier
companies. I would say 90 per cent of those
have what you would call very entrepreneurial
management style. They are loose, they are
lean, they are privately owned. TTPost, we
operate on the basis of good industrial relations,
so we don't have the flexibility of the smaller,
highly entrepreneurial entities."
As at September 2013, courier revenue con-
tributed to approximately 10 per cent of the
total revenue for TTPOST.
"What we want to do is not just get more
foreign volumes in, but to target the business
community in T&T. Within the next 12
months, I think we would want to hit at least
18 to 20 per cent. That can be accomplished
if we think about the model differently."
The option of warehousing and inventory
management is being explored.
"We need to enter the warehousing market.
We need to offer warehousing and inventory
management, process and package goods and
deliver them," he said.
The T&T Postal Corporation Act needs to
be revamped to accommodate the changed
"We have, through the board, submitted a
comprehensive review to the line ministry and
the process would kick in from there. There
is a real need to revise and amend the Act as
it exists now.
"There were certain elements of the Act
that were no longer applicable. It was built
specifically for the transformation in 1999-
2004. Coming out of that, there is some clause
in there that is no longer applicable. Secondly,
there were some areas in the Act that we need-
ed to clarify, we needed to amend, and when
we did the review, we were very clear on how
we wanted that to go forward."
Justifying the need for a change in the leg-
islation, Ali said the parameters have changed,
the business model has changed, the envi-
ronment has changed.
Postal service is seen as a utility. This means
careful thought should be put into the level
at which postal services are priced. He said
if standards are to be set and service is to be
delivered, independent monitoring should play
a pivotal role.
Asked whether the Regulated Industries
Commission regulates TTPost, he said: "At
this point, the RIC is not the entity that reg-
ulates TTPost. It may be something that should
come into the mix going down the road. It is
important if you are talking about quality of
service, there should be a regulatory aspect
TTPost has the power only to set prices for
its non-core services such as courier services,
direct mail and unaddressed mail. But the "20
grams letter mail, the commercial mail from
the banks and insurance companies, that is
something that is beyond the corporation's
control when it comes to setting price."
While accountability and transparency is
on the front burner for state enterprises or
entities, Ali is confident the practices at TTPost
s in tandem with the standards required in
the Procurement Bill.
Managing our subventions
Colin Lucas, then managing director of
TTPost in a July 2006 interview had
said: "A lot of things are yet to be done.
There is still a proper human resource
system which has to be in place and
there are additional industrial relations
issues," he said.
He explained there were two
commercial realties of a postal service:
one of profitability and the other of
providing an essential service.
"A key mandate from the Government
is to achieve a sustainability viability
which the organisation is yet to achieve.
We need to take the business structure
apart and focus on the key deliveries,"
Lucas had said.
Emmanuel George, Public Utilities
Minister, on May 11, 2012, while piloting
the T&T Postal Corporation Amendment
Bill in the Lower house, said the global
recession had affected TTPost, as also
the United Kingdom's Royal Mail and the
United States Mail Service, are both
struggling. Without appropriate survival
mechanisms, he said, this was a position
in which TTPost could also find itself. He
said the company had added new
features, including TTPak, but this also
George said the previous postal entity
had required a $14 million subsidy from
Government. TTPost was formed with a
US$14 million injection and subsidies
dropped. But George said subsidies again
crossed $14 million in the period 2010-
Dr Franklin Ali, chairman of T&T
Postal Corporation (TTPOST)
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