del fante sole 24 ore

Consolidate Poste Italiane’s leadership in logistics in a long-term perspective. In an interview with Il Sole 24 Ore, the CEO of Poste Italiane Matteo Del Fante explains what the Group’s strategy will be in order to cope with the increasingly marked reduction in mail volumes and consolidate Poste as the leading national operator in parcel delivery logistics, also through expansion into new areas, from warehouse management for business customers to cold food delivery.

The challenges of the three-year period

Del Fante points out: ‘There has been a recovery in the parcel sector in the first half of the year. The second quarter is an improvement on the first and we continue to hold on to mail despite an inescapable drop in volumes. These two things together represent for us the most important challenge of the next three years, because we are aware that the established trend of declining mail will not stop. Ten years from now,’ continued the CEO of Poste Italiane, ‘whoever replaces us will have to manage a much more complicated situation than the one we are experiencing today, so we feel the responsibility to work now to make sure that the situation will be more manageable. We have to consolidate our leadership: we are number one in Italy for deliveries to retail (B2C). This means managing a relationship with Amazon, which is our first customer, but also our first competitor. We are first among logistics operators, but Amazon is the first in terms of volumes in B2C, as it delivers its own parcels and decides with whom to deliver. It is a relationship to be managed step by step.’

The new industrial plan

In the autumn, writes Il Sole 24 Ore, Poste Italiane will therefore present an industrial plan with a ten-year perspective. The basis for the future will be the renewal of a labour contract – expiring at the end of the year – which will require more flexibility from the 25,000 letter carriers. Del Fante’s goal is ‘to lay the foundations for development beyond the mandate.’ ‘The new labour contract, which is due to be renewed in September, will have to go precisely in this direction,’ explains the CEO of the Poste Italiane Group. ‘We will have to ask for more flexibility from our workers in the delivery sector, with regard to both working hours and days of the year because parcels, unlike mail, have cycles and peaks in which volumes double. Twenty-five thousand carriers are employed for mail and parcels, plus 15 thousand in the sorting centres (both parcels and mail). We have already started asking carriers to also deliver parcels and the level of quality is high. Now we need a second step,’ continues Del Fante. ‘Our customers are large e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Zalando and Vinted, which have very high quality standards and demand deliveries even at the weekend.

International Challenges

To grow, Poste will also have to ‘seek additional sources of revenue in logistics’. ‘Our business,’ explains the CEO, ‘is based on the last mile of parcel delivery. But this exposes us to competition from Amazon too much: it has a market share of over 60 per cent in our country, while the share is between 40 and 50 per cent in the rest of Europe. Sales are concentrated on their platform and they choose who to deliver with.’ The idea is therefore to ‘open up to the international market, which we will do with DHL by creating a joint hub with Poste in Italy and access their network abroad.’ ‘And then,’ Del Fante continues, ‘we intend to enter the warehouse business by also managing warehouses for customers for whom we carry out last-mile deliveries. The first two contracts have been signed with Tim and Acqua e Sapone. Then there is the business-to-business market – as of today, we are the only ones with an integrated business. We are the most organised logistics operator, as we also have cargo (with profit as of the last three years), the SDA courier and Sennder for road transport, in which we are shareholders. We have carried out a share swap over the past few days, converting the shares of Sennder Italia with those of Sennder Gmbh: we are now 11% shareholders of the leading European operator in the sector.’

Poste Energia

Then there is gas and electricity, a market which Poste Italiane has entered only in recent months: “We have reached about 300,000 signed contracts, with a physiological incidence of 5 per cent. We have invested €55 million and expect to break even in 2025. The government has greatly appreciated our offer, because it guarantees stable bills for one year, with the possibility of lowering the amount the second year if consumption is reduced in a virtuous manner.’

New acquisitions

Regarding new acquisitions, Del Fante states: ‘As the acquisition phase slows down, we will try to be opportunistic while consolidating what we have acquired. We are planning to make the real estate management of logistics centres, which cover 600,000 square metres, more efficient. A tender was launched to choose a partner and manage this asset in a market-oriented manner. We will transfer the assets, which have a market value of around 700 million, into a fund managed by an sgr. We are looking for a partner of up to 50 per cent who has the skills and is willing to invest with us.

The Polis project

Finally, the big news is the Polis project, launched at the beginning of 2023 to bring public administration services to post offices in municipalities with less than 15,000 inhabitants: ‘We have already completed work in 300 post offices and we are at an advanced stage in 500. We will reach 1,500 Polis offices by the end of the year. ‘The services of the Ministry of Justice for criminal certificates started already in April under the coordination of Co-Director General Lasco,’ emphasised Del Fante. As far as Inps is concerned, we are ready to issue pension certificates, payslips, and single certifications: they have been operational at 260 post offices since 23 June and in all 7,000 Polis offices by the summer. The same will be done for registry certificates, which will be issued through digital totems in 500 offices by the end of the year. As for passports, we will be able to join the other institutions by November, issuing them in 15-30 days in the offices able to provide the Polis service.’