Race to deliver

SUCCESSUL business is now, more than ever, dependent upon the prompt delivery of consignments. That is why business clients have become fond of using courier firms. The Slovak Spectator (TSS) asked three of them what trends and prospects they expect in the market of delivery services in Slovakia in the forthcoming years.

NOT just licking stamps, firms compete to offer special services.
photo: TASR

SUCCESSUL business is now, more than ever, dependent upon the prompt delivery of consignments. That is why business clients have become fond of using courier firms. The Slovak Spectator (TSS) asked three of them what trends and prospects they expect in the market of delivery services in Slovakia in the forthcoming years.

TSS: Do you expect that the market of express delivery services will grow?

TNT: Express delivery services are developing together with the growth and development of the Slovak economy. An increase in foreign trade and domestic demand poses higher requirements on the speed and quality of express shipping services. According to our surveys, we expect a growth of express delivery services with the main accent on reliability, speed, and safety.

FedEx: The expected inflow of foreign investments and the consequential growth of production and exports will spur a growth in the market of delivery services.

UPS: The market will grow, especially after the accession of Slovakia to the European Union. The market will open for delivery firms that do not only operate locally.

TSS: What types of services do your clients primarily use?

TNT: Thanks to our having one of the biggest international air and road transportation networks, TNT Express can provide its clients with a wide portfolio of services. Customers whose main priority is speedy shipments use our service Global Express. This enables them to ship documents and parcels, but also heavy freights by air. If the price is the most important aspect for a client, he or she uses our service Economy Express. Clients very often use our tailor-made solutions for shipments. They are ideal for consignments that require a quick delivery, dangerous goods, or shipments sent during weekends and holidays.

FedEx: It is hard to define the most requested product for the whole portfolio of clients. Some of them prefer shipments of letter consignments, and some might prefer shipments of goods with a weight of hundreds of kilograms.

UPS: Express delivery comes out of our core business activities, so it is an express shipment of consignments.

TSS: Do corporate or individual clients mostly use these services? Why?

TNT: TNT is a company oriented towards business-to-business customers whose priorities are speed, reliability, and value-added services. Our clients are production companies, the whole automotive industry, machinery, and pharmaceutical and electro-technical companies, as well as banks and commercial firms.

FedEx: Currently, this market is oriented mostly towards business clients that have higher requirements for promptness of shipments than private individuals. In the case of an emergency, however, individuals might also ask for our services.

UPS: They are used primarily by business clients. The delivery time is important for the client and for his or her partner, whereas the time factor is not that significant for a private client.

TSS: Do you expect that express delivery services, in the future, will also penetrate the market of private clients?

TNT: The increase in the incomes and consumption of inhabitants puts pressure on the offer of services. A strong competitive environment significantly influences the quality of services and the offer of additional benefits for customers - such as delivering purchased goods at home or post-guarantee services. TNT Express expects such a development in Slovakia too. Thanks to our experience in developed European countries, we will be able to provide services for private clients.

FedEx: We think that the ratio of business and private clients will not dramatically change in the forthcoming years.

UPS: Yes. The Slovak private client is definitely willing to pay more for value-added product.

TSS: Do you expect that after Slovakia accedes to the European Union, the competition in the market of express delivery services will grow?

TNT: The accession of Slovakia to the European Union will widen the market of the free movement of goods and services. The experience of TNT from the last new member countries (Austria, Finland, and Sweden) shows that local service providers initially benefit from the opening of the market. Their services, however, become less convenient for a customer after several months under the pressure of global offers, and the special customer services that come along with it. A customer then becomes more orientated towards global players, which is where TNT belongs.

FedEx: There are only four or five firms that compete for the world market of express delivery services. Those firms have already been present in the Slovak market for several years, and that is why we do not expect any growth of competition on our market.

UPS: Yes.

TSS: What trends do you see in express delivery services?

TNT: The development of markets in Great Britain, Netherlands, and Germany also indicates trends in the Slovak market. We expect a growing number of clients as well as specific demands on courier services. The standard delivery of consignments on working days will definitely not be enough. The growth of e-business will require the development of software tools that enable taking orders, tracking them, as well as the possibility to order additional services, like special packaging or night services.

FedEx: Requirements for speed are becoming higher. This means that demands on express shipment will definitely grow in the future.

UPS: We expect express delivery services connected with IT services and, in fact, this is already happening.

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