By Eugene Harnan www.thenational.ae
DUBAI // Important people are not the only ones criss-crossing the city on the Dubai Metro. Important parcels are making the journey as well.
The courier companies TCS Express Worldwide and Aramex are beating the notorious traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road and saving time by using the train.
“It is also cheaper than using cars and [the couriers] don’t spend any time looking for parking,” said Mohamed Robel, the head of marketing for TCS Express.
The Pakistan-based company now delivers more packages before 10am than it did before the Metro was launched in September.
A courier’s morning begins at 8.30am when he picks up deliveries at Al Rashidiya metro station and makes his way towards the Financial Centre station to start his rounds. TCS Express dispatches additional packages at 11am and again at 2.30pm, also by Metro.
It is not the first time the courier company has delivered its goods by rail: the method has been successfully tested in Pakistan, linking offices in cities across the country.
“Normally [the drivers] waste time looking for parking which takes lots of time,” Mr Robel said. “Now they are on foot and can deliver everywhere. We did 40 deliveries before 10am.”
Before TCS Express began using the metro, deliveries were typically not finished until 11am.
The Metro is saving courier companies money as well as time – marked by a noticeable drop in parking tickets, which can cost up to Dh200 (US$54) each. A return trip from Al Rashidiya Station to Financial Centre Station costs just Dh4.60.
“It’s a good difference and there are no parking charges and we are mainly paying for parking fines,” Mr Robel said.
According to Mazhar Ayub Khan, the head of Logistics International and general manager for TCS Express, customers are benefiting from the service too, as the company has improved its delivery times.
“Recently, a guy wanted to deliver a package to Mall of the Emirates from our office in Rashidiya and we got it there within 25 minutes,” Mr Khan said.
Aramex has eight couriers riding the rails each day, delivering the morning’s post and parcels.
“It is cost-effective for us and it is a green story,” said Fadi Ghandour, the company’s founder and chief executive.
“I have less cars on the road and it makes much more sense. It is quicker, I do not have to get stuck in traffic and I am using all these stops for all these companies along the Metro lines to deliver our packages.”
The courier uses the 10 stations opened so far out of a planned 29 to distribute deliveries to staff, who wait for them on bicycles and motorbikes. Aramex already has four foot couriers in the heavily populated area of Deira and was the first to use speedboats to deliver across the creek.
“Any mode of transport that is good for the environment, we’ll use it,” said Mr Ghandour, adding: “What is good for the environment is eventually saving money; that is how we think”.