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News From Africa

 Logistics – Bad News from SA and Uganda

The SA Post Office (SAPO) together with the communications regulator, ICASA, brought a case against PostNet about 5 years ago for ignoring SAPO’s “last mile” monopoly. What appeared to have irritated SAPO most was that PostNet offered post boxes, which are a big revenue source for SAPO. The SA Courier Association and some of the largest logistics players applied to the Court to support PostNet. The case started but was postponed for over 2 years when ICASA failed to provide supporting documentation. This documentation has now been provided and the case has restarted in the court. The precedent is extremely concerning. SAPO, which is seriously strapped for cash, has already made it clear that it will ‘license’ last mile carriers once it wins the case. Not only will that increase delivery costs for SA’s ecommerce providers, but also it is unclear how the court will define the last mile – would this also include motorbike deliveries?

Meanwhile, according to data from the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), 60% of courier vendors operating in Uganda are doing so illegally. This point was made during a collaboration between UCC and the postal and courier industry aimed at resolving new regulatory concerns in the industry. Although the number of licensed courier service providers in Uganda has increased over the past 2 years, the UCC has pointed out that the country’s ecommerce is mostly driven by non-registered courier services which deliver goods to the customer’s door.

Alastair Tempest

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