The 2015 PostEurop Plenary Assembly will be held on 14 and 15 October in Limassol, Cyprus hosted by Cyprus Post. In an interview with Mr. Andreas Gregoriou, Director of Cyprus Post, PostEurop had the opportunity to get to know the island post a bit better.
PostEurop: Mr. Gregoriou, PostEurop would like to sincerely thank you for hosting the upcoming Plenary Assembly. Can you tell us a bit about Cyprus?
Mr. Gregoriou: With pleasure! Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily and Sardinia, with an area of 9,251 square kilometers and a population of 865.900, out of which 71,9% are Greek Cypriots, 9.5% are Turkish Cypriots and 18,6% are foreign residents. It is an independent state since 1960 and a member of the European Union since 2004. It has a long and turbulent history attributed to its strategic geographical location at the crossroads of three continents-Europe, Africa and Asia. It is an island with 10.000 years of history and civilization which is apparent by the numerous archaeological sites, castles and Byzantine Churches scattered all over.
Cyprus has a diverse landscape with pine clad mountains, rugged coastlines and beautiful beaches. The variety of landscapes contributes to the richness of the flora and fauna of the island. Due to its size, it is very easy to enjoy a refreshing swim and within minutes to find yourself in the pine scented forests of Troodos Mountains.
In addition to the cosmopolitan cities, the visitor can enjoy the hospitality for which Cypriots are known in the small villages found in the rural areas. Cyprus can fulfil the expectations of the most demanding visitor, whether it is for business or pleasure!
PostEurop: What were the main reasons for your decision to host the next Plenary Assembly and what are some of your expectations?
Mr. Gregoriou: We saw the organization of the Plenary as an opportunity to demonstrate to our colleagues the Cypriot hospitality and at the same time to “test” ourselves in the organisation of a demanding event. After all, it was something that we proposed back in 2012 on the occasion of the Cyprus Presidency of the European Council, which did not materialize.
By participating every year in the respective Plenaries we have gathered experiences which will be helpful in the successful materialization of the Cyprus Plenary. We look forward to welcoming our colleagues in Cyprus!
PostEurop: Would you mind telling us a bit more about Cyprus Post activities?
Mr. Gregoriou: Cyprus Post (Department of Postal Services), is a government department under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Communications and Works. It is the appointed Universal Service Provider by virtue of the Regulation of Electronic Communications and Postal Services Law of 2004 and its subsequent amendments. Cyprus Post operates in a liberalized postal environment and it engages in the traditional postal services as well as value added services such as local and international courier, money transfer and provision of services to the public on behalf of other government departments. At the moment, it has a network of 53 Post Offices and 435 Postal Agencies serving all rural communities.
The Cyprus Government has identified the need to provide Cyprus Post with autonomy in order to face the challenges, therefore, a study has been assigned to an advisory firm in order to evaluate the various forms or autonomy and submit its proposal and roadmap with the implementation date to be 1/1/2016. Therefore, Cyprus Post is in the midst of fundamental changes!
PostEurop: Looking ahead what is Cyprus Post’s overall mission and strategy? What would you say are the key challenges for you and for postal operators in general?
Mr. Gregoriou: The challenge that the Postal Organizations globally face is the sharp drop in the volumes of the traditional mail due to the substitution by technology and how this affects their revenues and their long term perspectives. This is more apparent for Cyprus Post whose revenues derive at 96% from postal services and 4% from non- postal ones, making it a core issue of the strategic planning. More specifically, our challenge is how to fully utilize our infrastructure (network of postal offices and staff), in order to offer new added value services (postal and non-postal), and how to increase the revenues generated by the existing postal services. After all, our mission is “the provision of reliable, quality and efficient universal service as well as other innovative value added services by utilizing our network and infrastructure to better serve the citizens-customers”.
PostEurop: The two part theme of our plenary assembly and business forum is “Leading the Change”. How do you see European Postal Operators lead the change in the industry?
Mr. Gregoriou: The postal industry is probably the industry that faces the greatest challenges in its effort to reposition itself in today’s evolving and constantly changing world, both at an individual and business level. The technological leaps that we have experienced during the last few years may lead to completely opposite outcomes. Postal operators that do not adapt are doomed to obsoleteness whereas those who can take advantage of the new opportunities can thrive. No one can underestimate the revolution that e-commerce has brought and the way it has affected the way consumers behave and how businesses operate. The Postal Operators have a crucial role to play and they should be the protagonists. They need to work proactively in order to shape changes in a positive manner. The Postal Operators should not resist to change that it is inevitable and it is happening around us on a daily basis. On the contrary, they should pursue change in order to offer the services their clients expect and eventually ensure and strengthen their usefulness and role to individuals and businesses alike.
PostEurop: Thank you so much Mr. Gregoriou for this unique opportunity to get to know you and your organization. We very much look forward to a successful event in October.