Knutsford Express to further diversify revenue streamsWednesday, November 04, 2020
BY DAVID ROSE
As the travel market continues to reel from the fallout from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Knutsford Express Limited (KEX) has charted a new path to further diversify revenue streams by optimising its courier service along with the opening of its Drax Hall Logistics Centre.
Although the company was on target to surpass its 2019 financial year revenues, that target dissipated as it was forced to suspend travel for nearly two months due to the pandemic in early April. With travel open again to the public, the company has managed to garner up to 50 per cent of pre-COVID-19 frequency from customers.
One of the strategies the company is employing comes in the form of enhanced safety measures and discounts for individuals to book their trips on the website or with mobile application. This is against the backdrop of the current islandwide curfew which has kept the company's highly demanded early-morning and late-afternoon services suspended along with enhanced safety protocols which limit seating capacity.
“We are buoyed and comforted by the response so far. We have employed some cost-cutting measures generally throughout the company and enjoyed increased efficiencies from the ongoing back office and process digitisation while ensuring that safety, reliability, and compliance standards are not compromised.
”Despite the crisis, we are still driving opportunities to avail our service to more customers geographically that with the introduction of two new destinations along our route, May Pen and Lucea, this month,“ shared Chief Executive Officer Oliver Townsend.
Some of the cost-cutting measures included laying off 40 per cent of staff at the end of May, recommending there be no dividend payment in September and further optimising technology to reduce crowding at its offices to pay for services.
KEX also did a comprehensive review of its Florida subsidiary which has yet to turn a profit since being acquired in early 2019. Despite this, the company's revenue during its first quarter ending in August was slightly up compared to the fourth quarter when more restrictions were in place, including the border being closed.
With a strong intention to diversify revenues further, KEX is currently deploying a new software which will allow business customers in Kingston with multiple shipments to pre-enter items in the system ahead of time and have a KEX vehicle pick up the package. This is part of the company's plan to become a more active member of several supply logistics chains and get some of its staff back into the office.
The other area of focus is the introduction of more intermediate stops along its various routes which will be complemented by its super terminal at Drax Hall. This would become a key pillar of the company's north-coast strategy while growing its logistics business. The Drax Hall development will also be available for commercial firms looking to use part of the 23,000-square foot area for their operations in that section of St Ann.
Even with all these measures, the company still sees demand for bus hireage being unknown territory as large events remain muted by restrictions to limit large gatherings, and demand in Florida remaining mixed. Its Knutsford Connect subsidiary still hasn't seen as much demand with the Donald Sangster and Norman Manley International Airports air traffic down by 81 and 76 per cent, respectively.
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