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Ghana Post at doorsteps : The scuttle box is revived

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe & Justice Agbenorsi
Flashback: President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo receiving the first scuttle box from Bice Osei Kuffour (left), MD, Ghana Post
Flashback: President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo receiving the first scuttle box from Bice Osei Kuffour (left), MD, Ghana Post

Ghana Post Company Limited (Ghana Post) has introduced an innovative postal box for the delivery of parcels and some merchandise to households and businesses.

The re-launch of the scuttle box service entails the fixing of a receptacle to the entrance of homes and linked to digital address system for the delivery of medium size parcels such as food, fabrics, shoes, mobile phones and other items.

Properties

The scuttle box is fitted with an anti-theft mechanism that makes it difficult for unauthorised persons to have access to the content of the box, except the one having the key.

It has also been sandblasted with non-corrosive finishing that enables it also to withstand humidity and adverse weather conditions and can store food for up to three hours.

Clients using the scuttle as a delivery option will receive notification prompt to open their scuttle when an item is deposited in their boxes.

Units

Single or multi units scuttle boxes can be installed in a home or business address.

While the single unit scuttle box serves as a dedicated parcel box for a household families, the multi-unit scuttle service is a combined set of boxes for apartments and communities.

With the multi-unit scuttle box, an eligible user is provided a key to their own secured locker to have access to a parcel-sized box.

Modalities

In an interview with the Daily Graphic ahead of the relaunch of the service last Thursday, the Managing Director of Ghana Post, Bice Osei Kuffour, explained that the scuttle box initiative was part of the transformation drive by the company to facilitate e-commerce and deliver products to people in a secure environment without physical interaction.

The initiative is in partnership with Collins Tee Investment, a private Ghanaian entity.

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful (left), Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, led a team of board and management of Ghana Post to present a scuttle box to the President Akufo-Addo

The Ghana Post managing director explained that the two companies had carefully diagnosed the challenges posed by the advent of technology to come up with home-grown technology-driven solutions for the postal and courier services.

Mr Kuffour said subscribers of the scuttle box were required to pay GH¢20 a month, translating into GH¢240 annually.

The managing director of Ghana Post added that private subscribers would receive their parcels free of charge, while those who used the scuttle box for commercial purposes would be made to pay additional charges.

Old letter boxes

Throwing more light on the innovation, Mr Kuffour said, with the birth of the scuttle box, family members or groups of people who wanted to continue using their old letter boxes at the post office could have the two linked together for prompt delivery of parcels irrespective of the distance involved.

He explained that the names and phone numbers of such people would be linked to the letter box so that when they receive items, they would be notified

O.B. Amoah (middle), Deputy Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, observing the scuttle box

"A message will be sent to them that they have received an item and when the delivery is made, they will again receive a prompt on their phone," Mr Kuffour said.

Touching on the multi-unit scuttle box, the Ghana Post managing director said it was a novelty and formed part of the vision to make post boxes available to every person irrespective of their location.

"Even if it is a scattered settlement or community that needs the service, we can mount a scuttle multi-unit because the idea is to bring the post office to the doorstep of people," he said.

Advantages

Mr Kuffour stated that the scuttle box was important as it would serve as a viable medium for government agencies to deliver property rates, utility bills and other information to customers.

The Ghana Post managing director also said the initiative would facilitate e-commerce, online deliveries and information dissemination.

Bice Kuffour (middle front roll), the MD of Ghana Post with some of the dignitaries at the launch of the scuttle box

Again, he said, given that post office box had become a key requirement for the registration of businesses, it was important for all households to patronise the scuttle service.

"As of now, all the post office boxes have been exhausted, but because Ghana Post is the only mandated body to give postal address, if you have the scuttle box, the digital address assigned to the scuttle box becomes your post office box. When you are using it for documentation, it is valid," Mr Kuffour said.

Roll out

In terms of the roll out plan, the Ghana Post managing director said the initiative would be piloted in five metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) in the Greater Accra Region for the next six months and rolled out in phases to cover the entire country.

Godfred Yeboah Dame (middle), Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, with Ama Pomaa Boateng (right), Deputy Minister, Communications and Digitalisation, and Bice Kuffuor, MD, Ghana Post after the launch

"We have spoken to the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council, the MMDAs. We are yet to confirm the five MMDAs that will be used for piloting the initiative," he said.

However, he observed that while the initiative was being piloted, anyone interested in subscribing to it could put in a request.

Mr Kuffour urged local assemblies to enact by-laws to make the scuttle service part of everyday life.

Revolutionary initiative

For his part, the CEO of Collins Tee Investment, Barimah Appiah, said the scuttle box initiative was revolutionary as it would provide infrastructure for e-commerce and reduce expenditure associated with the current system.

He reiterated that the scuttle box had utmost security features to guarantee the safety of parcels.

Samples of the single unit and multi unit scuttle boxes

"The box is mounted at a height of at least 5.7 inches and coated to withstand the weather and humidity. We are considering adding an alarm to alert owners of the box when it is being tampered with," Mr Appiah added.

He urged households and business to take advantage of the scuttle box initiative to trade at their comfort.

The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, who launched the scuttle service in Accra last Thursday, said the re-introduction marked a major milestone in the communication industry as it would make the delivery process more convenient for the public.

He said with the innovation, people could no longer hide behind non-service as an excuse for non-compliance of court processes.

The A-G commended the leadership of the Ghana Post for its commitment to provide a refreshing excellent service to its partners, customers and stakeholders.

Describing the innovation as a game changer, Mr Dame said it could only be sustained if the two companies strengthened collaboration with other stakeholders and government agencies to enhance patronage.

Communication

The Deputy Minister of Communications and Digitalisation, Ama Pomaa Boateng, said the launch affirmed that the needs of Ghanaians customers had been noted.

She charged the Ghana Post to continue to push innovations to the doorsteps of Ghanaians by serving them with speed, loyalty, efficiency and reliability.

A Deputy Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Osei Bonsu Amoah, said his outfit would support Ghana Post to ensure a successful implementation of the scuttle service across the country.