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A mobile app that tracks parcels, single-counter services and the nation’s first logistics hub are among several new features Qatar Post is rolling out this week.

The shipping hub will be built on the site of the old Doha International Airport.

It should offer a quicker and cheaper way of getting mail around the world, officials said.

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The news was announced at an event yesterday to unveil Q-Post’s new logo. The nation’s mail delivery service pledged to “upgrade the postal network” in Qatar and offer new products and services to customers.

Renovated branches

As part of its overhaul, Q-Post said all 25 of its branches across the country will be renovated and fitted with new digital terminals.

There, customers can do everything at one counter, instead of having to visit separate counters for each service.

The main post office at the Corniche is now accepting customers after months of refurbishment, while the Al Rayyan branch will re-open to customers in November, Q-Post said.

Doha News

New digital counters to be fitted at all Qatar Post branches

Fit-out of remaining branches should be done by the end of next year.

Meanwhile, some 13 new kiosks are slated at Al Meera supermarkets across the country.

These should launch by the end of this year, Maud Daniel, Qatar Post’s head of marketing and communications told Doha News.

Mobile app

Qatar Post has also launched a new mobile app.

It currently enables customers to track packages; find branch locations, collection points and smart lockers; and make online payments via Qatar-issued credit cards.

Doha News

New Qatar Post mobile app

By next March, customers will also be able to use it to re-direct parcels to other addresses or arrange pick-ups and deliveries.

Additionally, they should be able to have their mail held at post office branches if they are out of the country, a Q-Post official said.

The Qatar Post app is currently available to download for free for both Android and iPhone users.

Faster mail delivery

The postal services company has also set up a new logistics hub, on the site of the old Doha International Airport, to speed up mail service using Qatar as a base.

It is hoped to be operational by the end of this year.

Nada Badawi

Staffers pack up at the Doha International Airport in 2014.

When it is, Q-Post will work with Qatar Airways to transport mail, Ian Bett, head of finance transformation at Qatar Post told Doha News.

“Currently, mail to the UK, for example, all has to go through Heathrow. Under the new system, delivery would be faster by using Qatar Airways’ direct routes to cities like Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham or Cardiff,” Bett said.

This should improve services not only from Qatar but also other parts of the world, with Doha acting as the hub for the mail delivery, he added.

Q-Post is also planning the launch of a new e-commerce platform in 2018 and upgraded sorting facilities in 2019.

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Last April, Qatar Post announced its first stage of supporting online retail with the launch of its shop and ship service Connected.

This enables residents to shop and get their items delivered to their PO Box, direct to their home or to a smart locker.

At the time, the organization also said drone delivery would be an option, although there has been no further details on this since.

Re-branded

All of the changes were unveiled yesterday alongside Qatar Post’s new logo in a lavish ceremony at the Sheraton Grand hotel.

Doha News

Faleh al Naemi, Qatar Post chairman and managing director

The new design replaces the old curly letter Q with the word Qatar written in Arabic calligraphy, in blue and maroon.

The brand colors represent the sea (blue), the desert sand (yellow), with maroon reflecting the national flag, Q-Post said.

The organization also released a film Dear Qatar, from Qatar Post outlining its mission for the country in the coming years.

Thoughts?

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After years of talking about it, Qatar’s state-run postal service has launched a new home delivery service for personal PO Box holders.

This means that customers no longer have to head to the post office to collect their packages and letters.

Instead, Qatar Post (Q-Post) will have them delivered at home one to six times a week, the company has announced.

However, there will be an annual charge for this service, according to Q-Post’s website.

In addition to the QR500 yearly PO Box subscription fee, customers will need to pay:

  • QR500 for delivery once a week;
  • QR1,500 for three times a week; or
  • QR3,000 for six times a week.

To opt into the service, customers can download and fill out this form and complete their registration by going to any Q-Post branch.

Modernization

Q-Post, which raised its prices for the first time in almost a decade last year, has been working to overhaul its system to make it more consumer-friendly.

Last year, it launched a new service called Connected by Qatar Post to rival private shop-and-ship firm Aramex.

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The system allows residents to rent “virtual addresses” outside the country, which makes it easier to shop from online portals such as Amazon.

Q-Post has also started a “smart locker” rental system that allows residents to collect their deliveries at their convenience from shopping malls, residential neighborhoods and academic campuses.

Are you excited about home delivery? Thoughts?

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Qatar’s state postal service has launched a new service that will allow shoppers to buy items online and get them delivered directly to their homes or to a “smart locker.”

Announcing the new “Connected by Qatar Post” service, the organization also said it is planning doorstep drone delivery for some packages.

The shop and ship service is similar to Dubai-based Aramex, though appears to be considerably more expensive.

The first phase of the new drone service should start in three months, QNA reported.

During a signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Transport and Communications yesterday, Q-Post‘s chairman and managing director Faleh Al-Naemi said a second phase will be rolled out by October.

However, no details were provided about either phase. In a statement, Al-Naemi said:

“Such a program will help us reach out to all our people and revolutionize the way we serve Qatar with faster, environmental-friendly and reliable delivery services.”

What’s offered

The new, home-grown e-commerce service was first mentioned by Al -Naemi last October and at that time had been called “Ship 2-Q”.

Under the new system, customers can rent postal addresses, initially in the UK and USA, and buy items online that can be sent to these locations.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Packages will then get forwarded on to them in Qatar – either directly to their homes, to one of 30 post office branches in the country or to a smart locker.

These lockers will be in locations across the country, and will be open round-the-clock, Al-Naemi said.

Q-Post has not given updated details of the lockers’ locations, but Al Naemi previously said they would be in shopping malls, residential neighborhoods and university campuses.

How it works

The new service should make it easier for residents to shop online and get goods delivered to Qatar – particularly from outlets that don’t ship to this country.

Q-Post will be competing with Aramex, which offers private shop-and-ship facilities, though customers usually have to collect their parcels from an Aramex outlet.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Public.Resource.Org/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Shoppers can sign-up to Q-post’s new system online, which will give them a mailing address in the US or UK.

Addresses in Japan and China will follow “soon,” Q-Post said on the website of the new service.

With lifetime membership, shoppers can buy goods online using the overseas address as a shipping location.

The items can be stored in a warehouse for up to 21 days, allowing shoppers to bundle together a number of parcels to minimize shipping costs.

Q-Post said it aims to get parcels delivered “within five to eight working days” and has an online tracking system.

Parcels can be up to 1.5m in length and the maximum length plus girth cannot be more than 3m.

Shipping costs

Q-Post has a different fee structure from Aramex, though both charge an initial “lifetime” membership fee.

However, according to the Peninsula, Q-Post will waive its QR99 fee (Aramex costs QR164) and also give 30 percent off on the base charge for a customer’s first shipment.

According to Q-post’s website, delivery charges will be based on the weight of the package.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.

There’s a minimum charge of QR129.60 for the first item up to 500g, plus an additional fee of QR4.6 per 100g thereafter, for goods shipped from the US.

Items from the UK cost QR133.25 for the first package plus QR2.9 per extra 100g.

Q-Post’s basic fee for a parcel up to half-a-kilo is around three times the price of that charged by private rival Aramex (QR43 plus a QR10 inspection fee).

A 2kg parcel posted from the UK to Qatar would cost QR158 with Aramex, but QR176.75 with the new Q-Post system.

But the fee structure for heavier packages is different, with Q-Post charging per 100g while Aramex bases its costs in 500g increments.

And with Q-Post there is no base-rate charge for second and subsequent packages, which are charged according to the total weight of the delivery – making it cheaper for customers to bundle multiple parcels together in one consignment.

E-commerce

Al-Naemi has previously said that Q-Post would play a central role in the country’s expanding e-commerce market, which is expected to grow to US$2.2 billion by 2019, up from $1.2 billion last year.

The launch of the new service comes amid a broader e-commerce strategy in Qatar to introduce more competition, which would lower prices and improve service.

Despite the sector’s rapid growth, only 14 percent of Qatar’s residents shop online compared to a regional average of 27 percent, according to ictQatar.

Would you use the new service? Thoughts?

Note: This article has been corrected to state the actual costs of a 2kg shipment from the UK to Qatar.