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Delivery, The South African Postal Service Tries to Carve Out Leadership in Southern Africa, and Amazon is Now the 3rd Largest Delivery Company in the USA

Delivery is key to the success of ecommerce around the world. Many national postal services (POs) have moved most of their emphasis over the last 2 decades to ecommerce fulfillment. This has required them to become accountable with sophisticated track and trace systems in place, effective and fast delivery times, and competitive pricing. Some years ago the Universal Postal Union (UPU) appointed 4 POs to act as hubs for the 4 corners of Africa. SAPO became the hub for Southern Africa. I was at a recent meeting at which SAPO presented. Although SAPO has started to provide track and trace and a system (based on RFIDs) to measure speed/effectiveness in its largest sorting offices, this is far from the needs of the market. At present the only benefit SAPO can make is based on price – but, due to COVID, its offering for international mail is very limited (I was told a couple of months ago that SAPO no longer accepts international parcels, although some of its customers still have SAPO carry their fulfillment internationally). Is it time for SAPO to be privatized?

Meanwhile, Amazon is now the 3rd package courier in the US, surpassing FedEx to control 20% of the country’s delivery market. It has seen a meteoric rise since 2014 when it began handling more of its deliveries in-house. Morgan Stanley analysts predict Amazon will launch as a standalone delivery service in the near future.


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