Trusty postman slowly becoming victim to e-mail

Trusty postman slowly becoming victim to e-mail
From GULF NEWS, January 9th, 2001
By Tanya Goudsouzian

Dubai – The growing use of e-mail as a cheap and easy way to communicate is considered the likely cause of a 30 per cent drop in the number of overseas letters posted from the UAE between 1995 and 1999.
The same period has, however, seen a 48 per cent increase in the quantity of domestic mail.
The full impact of e-mail on postal services during the year 2000 has not yet been assessed, but the General Postal Authority is taking measures to promote its business. A major project to link up all postal centres by computer for increased efficiency will be implemented by the end of 2001.
“There are 62 postal centres in the UAE and not all of them are linked by computer,” said a spokesperson, explaining why compiling the year 2000 numbers will be an arduous task.
Another facet of this project is to link the GPA with other governmental bureaux, such as health and immigration.
“Once this is in effect, people will no longer need to go to the Health Ministry to renew their health card, for instance. They can go to one of our 62 postal centres,” said the spokesperson.
A second venture, currently in its early planning stages, is to set up a new “e-mail project” to help the GPA ride the technology wave by nabbing some of the customers who may otherwise be lost to the Internet.
“We are targetting those people who still don’t have computers, but want to correspond with people who do,” explained the spokesperson. The process will involve an e-greeting sent by a person to the GPA which will print it out and send it “snail mail” to the recipient.
Charges would be met by credit card and the system will be valid for both incoming and outgoing mail. As part of a wide-sweeping mission to upgrade its services, the GPA will also experiment with the “shop stop” concept, wherein customers can procure stationary and greeting cards at postal centres.
Within five months, some of the main postal centres will be offering this service, which is common in many Western countries. An experiment that proved massively successful was when the GPA set up a postal centre outlet at Deira City Centre during last year’s Dubai Shopping Festival. “It worked out well for both the shopping mall and the GPA,” said the spokesperson. “We received many calls from other shopping centres.”
He added that the GPA is considering a repeat of this initiative. A budget of Dh174 million has been approved by the GPA Board of Directors and is pending final approval by the UAE Council of Ministers sometime within the next two months. Some Dh 6 million will be invested into the “e-mail project”. A total of Dh22.5 million will be allotted to refurbishing existing postal centres throughout the UAE, and the construction of five new centres: Al Sanayia in Sharjah, and Al Ain, Al Bahar, Al Butain and Al Musafah in Abu Dhabi.
In addition to a series of ambitious projects, the GPA will undergo some significant structural changes, including the formal institution of a marketing and development department. It will also change its name from the General Postal Authority to “Emirates Post”.
Copyright 2001 Al Nisr Publishing LLC.
Source: World Reporter (Trade Mark).
GULF NEWS, 09th January 2001

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