COVID-19 has changed how postal service operates, says minister

Lyna Mohamad

The challenges due to COVID-19’s impact on logistics and delivery chain as a result of border closures and flight disruptions have provided an opportunity for postal service providers to explore digital businesses and services, complemented by the increasing trend of online purchases.

This was said by Minister of Transport and Infocommunications Dato Seri Setia Awang Abdul Mutalib bin Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Setia Dato Paduka Haji Mohd Yusof in his message to mark with 146th World Post Day.

“This year’s theme, ‘More Than Mail’, correctly reflects the role of postal service providers today,” the minister said. “In line with the World Postal Strategy 2017-2020 of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) that emphasises on innovation, integration and inclusion, the theme aims to address universal access in the postal services sector.”

The UPU has chosen the theme to showcase “the bravery and dedication of millions of postal employees around the world”.

During the unprecedented crisis, he said, “postal employees play an important role in ensuring services resume as normal, not only for the usual mailing items but also for the delivery of highly demanded essential items such as medication, personal protection equipment and other related requirements”.

“For Brunei Darussalam,” he added, “this is no exception.”

The Postal Services Department as well as other courier service providers “continue to strive towards uninterrupted delivery services to the public” to support the government’s efforts in mitigating the impact of COVID-19.

The minister said, “Arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, delivery services have come to the forefront going beyond sending conventional postal items in response to public demand for various items and services.

“In April, the Postal Services Department embarked on door-to-door deliveries in collaboration with e-commerce platforms such as eKadaiBrunei.com and Weelago.com.

“The growth of e-commerce platforms, especially during COVID-19, proves to be a solution in the midst of restrictive measures with delivery service providers playing an important role in the delivery chain to customers.”

According to Postal Services Department statistics, the growth of e-commerce platforms spurred demands and resulted in additional 1,300 kilogrammes of EMS Speedpost parcels between April and September this year.

In April, he said, the Postal Services Department facilitated the public and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through bilateral arrangements with their neighbouring countries in managing some 7,000 uncollected parcels for recipients in Brunei Darussalam.

“In delivering these services in the new normal, serious attention is attached to the safety and welfare of the operators and employees dealing with postal items,” the minister said. “In addressing the safety and welfare of workers as well as customers, and in line with the advice of relevant authorities in reducing the spread of COVID-19, standard operating procedures and guidelines have been put in place for handling postal items.”

In support of the nation’s aspiration towards becoming a Smart Nation, the minister expressed hopes for a “truly reliable, resilient and innovative postal services that will continue to be one of the key enablers for other economic sectors and activities in Brunei Darussalam”.