Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Mailpac in expansion mode

Published:Thursday | September 2, 2021 | 1:58 PMKarena Bennett - Business Reporter

Courier and delivery solutions company Mailpac has spent roughly nine months pilot-testing a self-serve parcel locker at its Old Hope Road store in Kingston.

The test has been successful, Executive Chairman of the Mailpac Group, Khary Robinson, said, and now the company is ready to roll out five additional locker locations.

Mailpac has earmarked $40 million for the new lockers and the buildout of five new stores across the island in an expansion drive of the international and domestic courier side of its business. But the lockers will not be in Mailpac stores, which now total 13 locations across the island.

Instead, Robinson is partnering with gas station and pharmacy operators for its locker distribution network.

Discussions are now ongoing with the potential partners, Robinson said, who stand to benefit from additional income and foot traffic at their locations. Mailpac itself wants to stand out as the courier and delivery solutions company with the most convenient service and, concurrently, is positioning itself for greater market share.

The concept of parcel lockers is not new to Jamaica and is currently being utilised by other courier companies, such as ShipMe, but Mailpac’s strategic partnership with gas station and pharmacy operators puts a new spin on the service.

In addition to the self-serve locker service, customers can choose to have their goods delivered or to pick up in-store. Mailpac is preparing for the roll-out over the next six months.

“Once they pay their shipping fees online, they can go to the locker at their leisure, scan the code provided and walk away with all their packages, without ever having to wait or talk to an agent,” said Robinson.

Mailpac became a publicly listed company in December of 2019, with 11 locations spanning across Kingston, Portmore, Spanish Town, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Savanna-la-Mar, Mandeville and May Pen. With the recent addition of Harbour View and Whitter Village, the company now has 13 stores and wants that to climb to 18 locations by the end of the year.

Mailpac has not disclosed the locations it's eyeing for the physical stores or self-serve locker locations, citing competitive reasons, but said cost efficiency for customers will play a big role in where the stores and lockers are placed.

For the first half of 2021, Mailpac's earnings grew 4.5 per cent to $198 million on revenues of $896 million. Revenue is up 23 per cent.

The e-commerce market has deepened because of the pandemic-induced shift to doing business and transactions online. Couriers like Mailpac have been natural beneficiaries of that shift, since orders placed online have to be delivered by someone to customers.

Mailpac Group has more plans for its Mailpac Local operation, with one announcement pending.

“There is a major announcement coming out next week. What I will say is that online grocery delivery is about to get revolutionised,” Robinson said.

As to the plan to acquire an e-commerce platform that the company disclosed was in the works at its annual general meeting last week, he said it would be about a month before any further disclosures.

karena.bennett@gleanerjm.com