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LETTER OF THE DAY - Rescue dying postal service

Published:Saturday | January 8, 2011 | 12:00 AM


It seems that the Jamaican postal service is somewhat in decline, as evidenced by the closure of some rural post offices. One could loosely speculate that this is caused by increasing costs of handling and transporting mail and, more important, the competition from new technologies such as email, instant messaging, fax machines, etc.

Rather than allow this infrastructure, and logistical knowledge to go to waste, the Government could use some innovation to recreate an improved service that would seek to benefit from the new technologies, other than merely competing with them, thus generating increased revenue, employment, and allowing the service to become an engine of economic growth.

One way of doing this would be to offer an improved parcel/ package delivery service, with more emphasis on this aspect of mail delivery that would generate new opportunities for all. For example, rural farmers could have their ground provisions delivered via the mail service in specialised packaging, and probably refri-gerated trucks, possibly to fill quotas established online by potential customers such as hoteliers, restaurants, food pro-cessors and supermarkets.

The online facility would be established and maintained by the postal service, as an added service, that would create instant markets for farmers, regardless of their own resources. Also, the consumers would be better able to source supplies for their needs much more easily at their fingertips. The potential of such a market for Jamaican farmers would be significant, since it would allow them to access the free-trade market established by the Carbbbean Community (CARICOM).

Corporate partners

Another area for this improved postal service to exploit could be in delivering packaged goods for some Jamaican companies, such as supermarkets that offer online service. This could enhance the geographical scope of their services by using the postal service to deliver groceries to a customer's doorstep.

It is obvious to see that an improved postal service, enhanced to take better advantage of opportunities available in a modern environment, would indeed provide an engine for economic growth, as it would reinvigorate small farmers who may previously have been overwhelmed by competition, and their inability to access a wider marketplace for their provisions.

Employment would rise as this service expands to meet demand, with more farmers taking advantage of the opportunities. Also, exports would be increased by means of the relatively easy access to international markets, particularly within the CARICOM free-trade area.

I am, etc.,