By Syed M. Aslam
Dec 23 - 29, 2002

JAMIL JANJUA is the Chief Executive Officer of TCS, one of the pioneers and a major courier service operator in Pakistan. His career itinerary comprise a solid aviation background dating back to 1967 when he joined the then newly established Training Academy of the national flag carrier PIA. He became a commercial pilot in 1969 and clocked 5,000 plus flying hours piloting Boeing 707, Fokker and Twin Otter aircraft and co-piloting Boeing 747 for the national flag carrier PIA between 1969 to 1981. After being grounded by the airline on medical grounds, Janjua then 33, year young utilized the time to his upgrade organizational and management skills completing a number of courses in the US, UK and elsewhere. He joined TCS in 1986 as Operation Manager and moved up to become its Chief Operating Officer only to get release from it in 1996 and joined British Council Karachi a few months later in 1997 and remained associated with it till 2001. He helped set-up Management Development Centre for the Council. He was offered to re-join TCS and joined it once again as Chief Operating Officer in May 2001 and was made its CEO about six months later.

PAGE: What has been the impact of the courier service on the business and corporate sector in Pakistan?

JAMIL JANJUA: It has helped expedite the flow of communication be it personal, business or corporate and in the process has helped improve the economy by providing an efficient, reliable, dependable choice to people in a country reeling from a postal service which was in complete disarray. It has helped the business and corporate sector as well as the banks and financial institutions to ensure timely delivery and pick-up of trade documents, cheques, LCs, samples and a whole range of other documents and parcels, both within and outside the country to expedite decision-making.

PAGE: Has it also helped improved the postal services?

JAMIL JANJUA: TCS started its operations in Pakistan in 1983 primarily as a sister company of DHL to help manage its local operations. Though TCS parted ways with the DHL soon afterwards and while the two are different entitles at present, the emergence of the courier service operators has brought in a healthy competition to helped Pakistan Post Office improve its services. The absence of competition prior to the emergence of courier operators resulted in slackened performance of the Post Office to a point where it had lost almost all its credibility. Today the Post Office is aware of the growing demand for quality service and has also taken many measures to better its service.

PAGE: What's the volume of courier traffic in Pakistan?

JAMIL JANJUA: On an average the TCS alone is handling some 100,000 pieces of shipments/deliveries everyday within the country and since its enjoying about 60 per of the market share the total flow of courier traffic in the country is estimated at over 200,000 pieces. Besides numerous small operators whose business is restricted to services within a certain city or just to a few cities there are about a dozen major operators serving the local market. The international courier traffic from Pakistan is estimated at around 1,500 pieces per day, about one-fifth of which is shared by the TCS. We have affiliation with such giants as DHL and Fedex in the US, OCS in Japan, TNT in the UK and Aramex in the Middle East to provide our customers with the best possible service.

PAGE: The Pakistan Postal Service floated a warning against using courier service in the print media earlier this year. Tell us about it.

JAMIL JANJUA: The postal service here are still governed by an antiquated Post Office Act of 1898 which stipulates that picking up the mail was the sole prerogative of the Post Office. The law has been changed in the UK itself. An important aspect of the antiquated law is that it fails to provide and adequate definition of 'letter.' The courier operators in Pakistan are not picking up 'letters' in the first place- they are picking up documents as mentioned on forms filled by the people. In any case, in the changed world of today the law should be made realistic. Instead of threatening the people by initiating an action for using a courier service, the Post Office should work with courier operators as a partner and upgrade its services. Certainly, courier delivery costs more than that charged by the post office but it does offer value for money, they charge premium price for premium service.

PAGE: Has anyone challenged the action taken by the Post Office?

JAMIL JANJUA: Helpline Trust, a consumer protection advocacy group was the first to challenge the measure resorted to by the Pakistan Post Office. It argues that the move not only undermines consumer rights but is also not conducive for business. In addition, a number of courier operators including TCS has filed suits in the Sindh High Court, both in individual as well as collective capacities.

PAGE: What has been the impact of internet on the courier business?

JAMIL JANJUA: It has certainly taken away a substantial volume of business from the courier copies due primary to reduction in flow of hard copies. However, the internet has also created new markets as merchandise and goods bought on-line are delivered by the couriers. The negative impact has thus been neutralised by the positive.