Private delivery companies vs SA Post Office – The ecommerce battle

The South African Post Office (SAPO) plans to launch an ecommerce platform and expects to reveal its launch date in 2019.

The undertaking of large-scale ecommerce deliveries is a logical step for the SA Post Office, as it is currently mandated with running the country’s postal system.

SAPO spokesperson Bongani Diako told MyBroadband that the Post Office’s delivery performance is monitored by ICASA, and that it also operates a separate parcel delivery business via its Speed Services Couriers division.

It also operates DOCEX, which is a courier subsidiary that offers specialised services within the legal fraternity.

He said that SAPO’s Speed Services Couriers’ current on-time delivery performance is 88%, which is only slightly below the 92% target agreed in the SLA with ICASA.

“This includes deliveries in rural areas where some courier companies do not offer a service,” added Diako.

He said that SAPO’s DOCEX division offers on-time delivery performance of 98%.

Diako added that one of the key benefits of using the Post Office is its reach, which includes 2,199 points in South Africa as well as international deliveries to 179 countries.

Additionally, Diako said the Speed Services delivery options are competitively priced, and customer satisfaction levels are high.

South African Post Office SAPO

Private companies

When SAPO steps into the ecommerce game, however, it will compete against private logistics and courier businesses.

Companies such as Pargo and ParcelNinja have developed into thriving enterprises that are currently used by many ecommerce players in South Africa.

MyBroadband spoke to Pargo and ParcelNinja about how they manage to deliver all their packages timeously, and why ecommerce companies choose them.


ParcelNinja, which makes use of courier companies to perform deliveries, supports online stores from the logistics and warehousing side, and allows them to focus on running and growing their business.

“We make sure that all the courier companies we use have full tracking and have IT systems to support all of this. We only work with the “tier 1″ courier companies who have the cash to invest in systems,” said ParcelNinja.

ParcelNinja has a team that works alongside couriers to ensure prompt delivery of all orders. It also tracks when deliveries have not reached their destinations on time.

“We then talk to couriers and the end customers to understand what the issues are. Very rarely is it a courier issue; most times, it is people not being at home,” said ParcelNinja.

As a result of these systems, it has a 98% on-time delivery record.

However, ParcelNinja highlighted that it offers a more enterprise-focused solution than SAPO, meaning that direct comparisons between the two may not always be fair.



Pargo, which offers an extensive network of pick-up points across the country, said that it values its relationships and collaborations with its courier partners.

“A designated team engages in regular communication and training sessions to ensure the smooth transfer of parcels along the supply chain,” said Pargo.

The company said it prioritises the use of effective systems and technologies to manage its delivery process efficiently.

“We constantly check on parcel movement using internal real-time tracking portals. If our dashboard flags a parcel because it approaches ‘late status’, our operational team actions an investigation,” said Pargo.

To track the progress of parcels, Pargo uses a scanning system that tracks each time a parcel changes hands. Pargo said that nearly 100% of all parcels are delivered within the promised time.

“In case something does go wrong or a customer has a query, we make sure to respond quickly. We have an average first response speed of less than 2.5 hours and an average resolution speed of queries of less than 24 hours,” added Pargo.

To keep customers informed on their package’s progress, Pargo sends emails and SMSs to the customer, while also offering a real-time tracking tool on their website.

Now read: Pargo delivery service tested

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Private delivery companies vs SA Post Office – The ecommerce battle