Postal Services are important. They provide a means of contact between people and organizations across the world. Even people in the remotest areas, thousands of kilometers apart and in different parts of the globe can communicate with each other as long as they both enjoy the benefits of a reliable national Postal Service. This simple form of communication is generally acknowledged as being very inexpensive in comparison with other forms of communication.
The road to providing a reliable, swift and efficient Postal Service is one that demands constant attention. Costs have to be minimized to keep charges down and customers happy, while service quality is maximized. The balance between cost and quality, together with providing new services required by customer's means that Postal Administrations must journey along a very long road; indeed, this is a road that never ends. But there has always been a beginning…
The Post Office in Qatar began operating modestly in 1950 with just 6 staff. Nevertheless the story begins in earnest in May 1963 when the State of Qatar took full responsibility for its own Postal Services.
From that date, what is now the Q-Post sought to improve their services to the public against a rapidly increasing population and a vast and almost unprecedented rate of development. This led, ultimately and some 25 years later to a modern, purpose-built new sorting center and headquarters equipped with the latest technologically advanced equipment and designed to cater for the country's requirements well into the next century.
As well as the prestigious main building on the Doha skyline next to the Corniche, there are presently 40 Postal Branches (18 with PO Box facilities) in service in the country including the Airport Post Office which operates 24 hours daily. Additionally, a number of Postal Agencies provide limited services as well thereby ensuring that Postal Services cover the entire country.
When the first Post Office was opened in Doha in 1950, the GPC used British stamps but in Rupee denominations and with the country name, "Qatar" over-printed in English. The first date-stamp was used for Registered letters at Doha Post Office on 17 May 1953, and in 1956 and 1960 the first Post Offices outside the capital were opened in Dukhan and Umm Said respectively. This was followed in 1961 with Qatar's issue of the first official postage stamp for the State.
In 1963 the GPC forwarded just three direct dispatches of mail to other countries but now there are more than one hundred direct despatches covering the entire world. 165 Posting Boxes have been installed throughout the country from which mail is collected up to 4 times every day.
In the early years there were just 900 Private PO Boxes on one site, but the rapid development of the country forced expansion and in 1988 a total of 25,000 electronically operated PO Boxes, the first of their kind in the world, were installed in the Main Post Office. Elsewhere, there are more than 12,000 conventional PO Boxes at 17 other branches around the country.
The GPC is a member of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), the Arab Postal Committee (APC) and the GCC Postal Committee. Qatar hosted the first conference to inaugurate the Gulf Postal Organization in April 1977 which later changed its name to the GCC Postal Committee.
The GPC traditionally participates in all postal conferences held by the UPU, the APC and the GCC Postal Committee and issues commemorative stamps for a variety of local and international occasions. Staff are trained in-house, but to keep abreast of postal development world-wide they are also trained at the Arab Postal Institute and in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.
The GPC is anxious to develop its services to its customers while maintaining a firm grip on charges. Every endeavor is made by the GPC to deliver mail promptly and to despatch mail anywhere in the world at the earliest opportunity. They keep as tight a rein on costs as possible but seek to provide solutions for the needs of their customers in an ever-changing environment. The GPC was the first Postal Administration in the Gulf to speed the despatch of Sea Mail by air, and charges for letters, post cards, printed matter, parcels, small packets, newspapers and magazines have only increased once in almost 20 years as a matter of GPC policy.
The world is changing faster than ever before and Postal Administrations are not immune to these changes; the postal future is thus quite daunting. However, in October 2001, specifically with the future in mind the GPC became an independent corporation. This important change is designed to enable the corporation to compete internationally, to meet its customer's needs and to provide a platform for the future service reliability of the business and to benefit the citizen's of Qatar.