Knutsford Express sees growing demand for courier service

CEO and managing director of Knutsford Express Services Limited Oliver Townsend says “I will ‘Knutsford’ it to you,” has become part of the local lingua franca as the company’s courier service grows in popularity due to its competitive rates.

He told Caribbean Business Report that the service has increased in demand among entrepreneurs who have set up their businesses at home.

“There are entrepreneurs operating business online and Knutsford is a vital part of their supply chain,” Townsend stated.

Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett (centre) officially opens the Knutsford Express depot at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay on Tuesday, January 9, 2018, while executive director of Knutsford Express, Anthony Copeland; Chairman Gordon Townsend; President of the Montego Bay Chamber of CommerceT’Shura Gibbs; and Knutsford Express Chief Executive Officer Oliver Townsend look on.
(Photo: Claudia Gardner)

“The cost of investing in inventory is huge. What they do is if they get an order, the same day they can deliver. By sending they avoid the cost of  investing in inventory and move goods at a reasonable cost,” he continued.

So, by providing a service that cost-effectively interconnects different parts of the island, the CEO explained, demand for the service has grown significantly.

Given the restrictions on movement and limited person-to-person contact, people who can’t travel to see their loved ones instead take advantage of the courier service to send goods to them.

“Every one of our 16 courier locations is basically a storefront. They get paid and we distribute in a clean, clean operation. There is a big growth in this,” Townsend said, adding that the company is continually looking for ways to improve the service.

At the same time, Knutsford Express has created a special counter for those who preload at courier locations.

“For commercial shippers, we have basically a mobile operation in and around Kingston. When they pre-load their couriered shipment, we have a mobile unit that goes around that facilitates the transaction. We are exploring all the different ways to make it easier and more cost-effective to move packages around the island,” Townsend pointed out.

Recovery for passenger service

As to the projected recovery of the passenger business, he is confident that part of the business will continue to turn around as Jamaica continues the roll-out of its vaccination programme.

A Knutsford Express driver poses for a frame with his assigned luxury bus. (File photo)

He added that the prospect of recovery was evident in “the race of vaccination in the [United] States and the hunger for travel — reflected in reports of hotel bookings in summer and reports from Airbnb”.

Meanwhile, Townsend said the company’s current fleet size is up to the task for a recovery in passenger traffic. “Speaking loosely, we do not feel right now we have to invest heavily in rolling equipment to enjoy a good comeback,” he said.

However, the company has plans to further digitise processes that will “accrue a lot of benefit to customers”. Among them, introducing more rewards and delivering points for free travel from all the services including charter services of luxury vehicles and others. 

“With things getting better, we’re not looking at any problem in financing the recovery. We have the concessionaires (at Drax Hall) coming in and setting up. For Phase two we are gunning for July. We have ten subscribers already,” Townsend noted.

He added that the company is looking forward to the contribution of rental income from Drax Hall to the profit.