Muscat: The meeting of the ‘First Postal Leaders Forum in the Arab Region’ began in Muscat on Monday.
The meeting, hosted by the Sultanate of Oman and represented by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology, in partnership with the Universal Postal Union, started in the presence of more than 60 participants from 18 Arab countries.
The opening of the three-day forum was sponsored by Dr Khalfan bin Said Al Shuaili, Minister of Housing and Urban Planning.
It aims to highlight best practices, share information, and exchange experiences related to digital transformation at the global level, with the aim of enriching postal institutions in the Arab region, in addition to bringing together the active parties in the postal sector in the region, such as operators of e-commerce platforms and other service providers for understanding the needs for logistical support and overcoming the challenges.
The forum will discuss several topics, the most important of which are digital transformation and innovation in Arab postal institutions, the digital economy and the postal sector, e-commerce, the driving force behind the digital transformation in the postal sector, the infrastructure for digital services, and the capabilities of digital transformation in the postal sector, in addition to how to secure the postal infrastructure in the right way. The forum will include panel discussions, presentations, dialogue sessions and a presentation on digital postal solutions.
Eng. Said bin Hamoud al-Ma’awali, Minister of Transport, Communications and Information Technology explained that the Sultanate of Oman has paid great attention to the postal sector by establishing clear governance in accordance with international best practices, adding that the Ministry is working with all relevant authorities to prepare a law for the sector.
The Omani postal sector achieved 6th place in the Arab world and 65th internationally, according to the Postal Development Report issued by the Union for the year 2023.
He added in his speech that the development of digital technologies and interaction with them constitutes an opportunity for the postal sector, noting that participation in the forum came to explore the possibility of achieving sustainable digital transformation and promoting innovation in the postal sector, as postal services are essential in daily life.
He noted that with the advancement of technology, it is necessary to achieve the required integration for the success of the system to provide better and more efficient services, as digital transformation represents an opportunity to improve postal operations, from accurate tracking of shipments to intelligent data management to improve the user experience.
For his part, the Assistant Secretary-General for Economic and Development Affairs of the Gulf Cooperation Council, explained that the importance of the forum comes from highlighting the vital role played by the postal sector in the global economy, as the postal sector and the logistical transport sector in general are the artery that feeds the economy and connects individuals and communities and enhances trade and economic growth of countries.
He stated that the GCC countries are witnessing rapid growth in the economic and social fields, accompanied by an increase in the volume of trade and investments, including e-commerce. According to the report (Post Statistics 2022) issued by the Universal Postal Union, the volume of parcels and express mail exchanged internally in countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council reached approximately 40 million shipments in 2022, with a growth rate exceeding 80 percent compared to 2018 and 2019.
He indicated that the volume of parcels and express mail exchanged between the GCC countries and the rest of the world reached about one and a half million shipments in 2022, with a growth rate of approximately 30 percent compared to the years 2018 and 2019.
For his part, Masahiko Metoki, Director General of the International Office of the Universal Postal Union, expressed in his speech his aspiration for this forum to be a platform for a comprehensive and strategic exchange of views on various topics related to the fields of post.
He stressed that common understanding and mutual knowledge in this field represent the cornerstone of concerted efforts to ensure the safety of the unified postal region and support postal development in the Arab region.
The Director-General of the International Bureau of the Universal Postal Union added that the topic of digital transformation and innovation that the forum addresses is an important topic, especially in the era of rapid technological development, which increases the need for postal services to adapt and develop with innovation in order to flourish in the digital age.
The forum is accompanied by an exhibition to showcase the latest digital solutions in the postal sector, which aims to enhance communication and interaction between companies specialised in providing postal services and the public, in addition to highlighting local companies operating in the Sultanate of Oman that have technical capabilities that allow them to provide innovative digital solutions to their customers.
The exhibition provides an opportunity for local and international companies to display their advanced and innovative digital products and services in the field of mail, as forum participants will be able to learn about the latest technologies and innovations offered by the exhibiting companies, including advanced solutions for delivery, postal tracking and email management.
It is noteworthy that this forum, in its first edition, is an opportunity to enhance joint Arab action and all member states of the Universal Postal Union in the fields of communications, information and post, and to keep pace with the rapid changes in light of e-commerce and the provision of innovative digital services. It will also depend on the outcomes of the forum as a framework for postal leaders who want to develop strategies for digital transformation.-With ONA inputs
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