International News

May 23, 2017

AFRICA: Post&ParcelUniversal Postal Union (UPU) Director General Bishar A. Hussein has called on postal operators in Africa to diversify their services in order to develop products that meet the changing needs of customers. Speaking at the Pan African Postal Union’s (PAPU) 36th Administrative Council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, Hussein said: ““We are all aware that the postal sector is undergoing unprecedented changes, characterised by rapid technological development, globalisation of postal markets and increased competition. “These are factors that are making us seek new ways of doing business in order to remain relevant for our customers. The new shift calls for greater innovation and diversification of products to march the changing needs and expectations of customers.”

CHINA: SCMPCainiao Network, the logistics arm of Alibaba, said it will strengthen the deployment of artificial intelligent (AI) technology in its courier network by putting 1 million smart logistics vehicles into the market to cope with exploding delivery volumes in the future – expected to reach 1 billion a day within a decade. The smart logistics vehicles, co-manufactured with other automobile companies including SAIC Motor Corp and Dongfeng Motor Corp, will optimize the delivery route for the couriers based on Cainiao’s advanced big data and algorithms. According to Cainiao, the new smart vehicles have been introduced in Shenzhen and Chengdu as part of a trial programme, where they reduced travel distance and air travel rates. The logistics industry could see savings of as much as 10 billion yuan (US$1.4 billion) annually after all the vehicles are put in services within the next decade, the company estimates.

NETHERLANDS: Post&ParcelTechnologyPostNL is to replace 100 diesel delivery vans with 60 sustainable e-cargo bicycles in Amsterdam, Netherlands, next month. The expansion of e-bike use follows a successful trial run in the city. PostNL opted for e-cargo bicycles as the company wants to make its transportation greener, and because traffic density in cities is increasing. E-cargo bicycles are emission-free and trials showed that in the center of Amsterdam, delivery by e-cargo bicycle is sometimes even faster than by delivery van. Eight bike transfer points will be added to the existing network, where mail and parcels can be loaded into the e-cargo bikes.

May 21, 2017

SIERRA LIONE: SierraExpressMediaSierra Leone Postal Service (Salpost) workers past Wednesday demonstrated peacefully, displaying placards and demanding that the Managing Director, Samuel Koroma, account for the lumpy sum of seven billion Leones, which the protesting workers alleged, he has misused. Speaking to Journalists, the apparently disgruntled workers and retirees who are also crying for end of service benefit said government gave the money to the Salpost management to pay long standing salary backlogs and retiree benefits but the money was not used accordingly. The demonstrating workers pleaded with government, through the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to intervene by mounting a thorough investigation into the use of the seven billion Leones.

May 19, 2017

AUSTRALIA: GovernmentRecruitingThe Australian postal service has announced it will be partnering with the federal government to provide its identity technology to a solution for accessing online services in the country. In a statement, Australia Post said it would be working with authorities to develop a proof of concept to enhance existing systems to gain secure access to services both online and over a counter. The solution will seek to integrate the postal service’s Digital ID platform with the government’s existing Commonwealth Digital Identity Framework that outlines standards and partnerships to underpin a federated system of ID providers. With a growing number of governments investing and putting weight behind in-house digital transformation bodies and planning, identity assurance is among key challenges facing efforts to handle a growing number of online transactions. 

IRELAND: Post&Parcel:  Ireland’s Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) has reported that in 2016 the national postal operator An Post delivered 91% of single piece priority mail on the next working day following the day of posting. This was the same result as for 2015 and is 3% short of the 94% standard. ComReg also found that An Post delivered 99.1% of single piece priority mail within three working days following the day of posting, which is also the same result as for 2015 and just slightly below the 99.5% standard. The regulator noted that An Post’s performance dipped significantly at the end of the year, during the busy Christmas season. An Post’s performance was also below the required standard on “postal packets”, which currently the growth area in postal service.

SWITZERLAND: Post&Parcel:  Swiss Post has announced that it is looking to “constantly expand its range of services” to maintain its top spot on the Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) Integrated Index for Postal Development (2IPD). The 21PD study compared 170 postal organizations’ performance in 2016 using four criteria: reliability, relevance, reach and resilience. The top 3 performers in 2016 were Switzerland (with 100 points), France (94.7) and Japan (94.1).  The UPU summed up why these three made the podium: “All of them offer either high or very high quality of service across their postal products portfolio, as well as great global connectivity for their customers. They also benefit from strong demand for their diversified portfolio of services and are all relatively resilient to changes and transformations in the postal environment. Switzerland has consistently been the best performer in terms of reliability, relevance and resilience with its diversified offer of postal services. There is only one area in which it is outperformed: reach, or global postal connectedness. In that category, China comes first."

May 18, 2017

UNITED KINGDOM: IBTimesRoyal Mail hiked its full year dividend and said it remains on track to save approximately £600m in the current financial year, but warned business uncertainty in Britain hampered its main UK business. The group's UKPIL division, which operates in the UK collecting and delivering parcels and letters through two main networks, reported a 2% drop in revenue to £7.66bn. This was attributed to a 5% decline in total letter revenue, which was itself due to a 6% drop in the volume of total letters on the back of business uncertainty in the UK. The decline, however, was offset by a strong performance from the company's GLS division, which delivers parcels across Europe and which saw revenue rise 9% year-on-year.

May 17, 2017

FINLAND: Post&ParcelFinland’s K Group has reported that the volume of parcels and postal transactions taking place in its K-food stores more than quadrupled in 2016 from 3m to 14m. Currently, parcel and/or postal points can be found in approximately 800 K-food stores across Finland. In addition to national postal operator Posti’s postal service points and parcel collection lockers, K-food stores also include UPS pick-up points, DHL packstations and the Matkahuolto delivery network, which continues in the K-Markets that were previously Siwa and Valintatalo stores.

May 16, 2017

CROATIA: TotalCroatiaPostCroatia Post will invest 345 million kuna in a new sorting centre in Velika Gorica near Zagreb, at the site which is located near the Zagreb Airport. Croatian Post says the importance of this project is the fact that the establishment and construction of the new sorting centre as a logistics postal centre will improve quality and speed of meeting the requirements for postal market processes. 

JAPAN: Asia.Nikkea: Japan Post Holdings booked a 28.9 billion yen ($254 million) net loss for fiscal 2016 after absorbing a massive impairment charge on its 2015 acquisition of Australian logistics provider Toll Holdings. The postal business environment is bleak both in Japan and abroad. Japan Post handled 17.7 billion pieces of mail such as post cards and letters last fiscal year, down about 30% from the peak in fiscal 2001. Although package delivery has gained steam in recent years amid the rise of online shopping, pressure to raise wages has boosted costs. The postal unit had an operating profit of just 12 billion yen in fiscal 2016.  Japan Post Bank's net profit shrank 3.9% to 312.2 billion yen. Ultralow interest rates have eroded the banking unit's investment returns on Japanese government bonds. Returns on foreign exchange trading grew but this was not enough to absorb the negative impact. Meanwhile, Japan Post Insurance enjoyed a 4.4% net profit increase to 88.5 billion yen. Annual premiums on new policies for individuals rose 4.7%.

SINGAPORE: TechinAsiaA major acquisition deal struck in 2015 by Singapore’s national post and logistics company SingPost has turned sour, dealing a blow to its ecommerce ambitions. An analyst with UOB told The Straits Times he believes SingPost could need until 2018 or 2019 to recover. The firm was badly hit by a S$185.0 million impairment charge for TradeGlobal – the US ecommerce firm it bought in 2015 for US$168.6 million. SignPost acquired firms like TradeGlobal as part of efforts to transform itself into a global ecommerce player, as its traditional line of business – postal services like snail mail – became less relevant.

May 15, 2017

FRANCE: ConnexionFranceFrench postal workers are offering a new service – they will pop in and chat to elderly people living alone and then inform their children living far away if there are any problems. The postmen and women pop in to have a chat for between five and 10 minutes while on their daily rounds. They have a list of questions such as “Are you well?”, “Do you need any shopping?” and “Do you need a doctor?”. For La Poste, it is a way to diversify as the amount of mail diminishes and to use their unique position of making daily visits to a large proportion of the population. It is also hoped that it will help keep elderly people in their own homes for longer. The postal workers have had special training to help them manage the different situations they might come across. There are contracts for between one and six visits a week, costing from €39.95-€139.95 a month. 

INDIA: PinkCityPost: You will no longer have to be worried about the status of your parcel, letters and money orders sent using the government postal service. The postal department will keep you updated with the status of the delivery. The department has launched a Postman mobile app that will be available to postmen in the city. The postmen will now have to keep the customers updated with the status of their parcels. Customers will receive a SMS on their mobile phones as soon as the parcel is delivered. They will also be provided information about the name of the postman who is supposed to make the delivery, expected date and time of delivery and its status. Customers will know who received the parcel, when and where.

May 13, 2017

THAILAND: NationMultimediaThailand Post has introduced Automated Postal Machine (APM) service at Suvarnabhumi Airport to enable air travellers to dispatch by post any items prohibited from being carried on board. Travellers can send items weighing up to 500 grams per package, select the delivery destination, and pay for the service at the machine. 

May 12, 2017

EUROPE: UPSPressRoomUPS Express Critical service launched in Europe for urgent, time-critical shipments that require special handling such as aircraft parts or surgical tools. Such services are vital to the healthcare, manufacturing and aerospace sectors when speed of delivery matters most. A UPS team assesses the shipping request through a round-the-clock contact center, identifies transportation alternatives and implements a delivery solution that meets time and cost requirements. UPS Express Critical® options include air, charter, surface and a personal courier who can carry the shipment by hand from origin to destination on a commercial flight.

NEPAL: HimalayanTimesIndian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri on Thursday said the development projects running in Nepal under Indian support would soon be completed. At a felicitation programme organised by Nepal-India Friendship Youth Association here in Janakpur, the Indian envoy shared that the postal highway – the most important among the running projects – would be completed within a year.

May 10, 2017

NIGERIA: DailyPostRelying on the importance of Nigeria Postal Services which was once the most vibrant means of conventional communications, the Senate on Wednesday vowed that NIPOST must be brought to life. In his ruling, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu stressed that NIPOST was still relevant despite the revolution of social media that tends to take away some of its services. He added that the reform would generate jobs for young Nigerians as well as its financial benefits, while it passed through second reading. “I want to congratulate Nnaji for the bill, I think that NIPOST is still very relevant despite the advent of social media and more so that it will generate jobs and revenues,” Ekweremadu maintained.

UNITED KINGDOM: BedfordshireNewsPOSTIES at five Bedfordshire delivery offices walked out in an unofficial strike on Monday - over the suspension of two union reps. The workers in Bedfordshire, along with those at four Buckinghamshire offices, marched for the doors after charges of misconduct were laid at the feet of two Communication Workers Union (CWU) representatives in connection with overtime pay. The 24-hour strike affected delivery offices in Bletchley, Brinklow, Kiln Farm, Dunstable, Leagrave, Luton, Bedford, Newport Pagnell and Leighton Buzzard.

May 9, 2017

KENYA: FootPrint2AfricaThe Information, Communications and Technology Cabinet Secretary of Kenya, Joe Mucheru said government,  policy makers and international organizations can use postal networks as a platform to design strategies to foster financial inclusion in Africa. He added that posts are better positioned to bank women, the poor, the less educated and those in the informal sector that are underserved by other financial institutions. The Universal Postal Union’s 2016 Global Panorama on Postal Financial Inclusion report found that two billion people globally have no access to financial services. Mucheru also called for increased adoption of e-commerce on the continent to unlock socio-economic transformation.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Post&ParcelEmirates Post Group has opened its first “Customer Happiness Center” in Al Bada’a off Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. In addition to the usual postal and non-postal services, the centre will provide VIP services, a recreation area for the elderly and a fun corner for kids. As previously reported, Emirates Post Group has embarked on a project to give its post offers a more uniform and “customer-friendly” look under the theme ‘We Deliver Happiness’.

UNITED KINGDOM: Post&ParcelTechnologyDHL Supply Chain has purchased four Sawyer robots as the first step of its UK and Ireland (UKI) robotics deployment program. Sawyer robots are some of the most advanced collaborative robots on the market and can support production and warehouse staff by automating repetitive tasks. The four robots will allow DHL to leverage automation flexibly, moving the robots between different sites in support of seasonal demands. The robots will be used across its 19 contract packing and Production Logistics centers nationwide. The four Sawyer robots have been bought following successful trials packing pet food, confectionery, aerosols and canned drinks. Following this initial investment, DHL plans a strategic investment of over £1m (US$1.3m) in the next 12 months to enhance its commitment to robotics and automation.

May 8, 2017

AFRICA: newsxihuanetThe UN specialized agency for the postal sector will assist Africa to set up a continent-wide e-commerce platform to expand the region's enterprises. Director General of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Bishar Hussein told a regional telecommunication forum in Nairobi that the platform dubbed Ecom@Africa will unlock the potential of African business globally. According to Hussein, e-commerce is the future for global trade and business and a sure route for the African post to finding relevance as a critical national infrastructure.

INDIA: AsianNewsThe postal department of India is designing facilities like cash delivery at doorstep, mini ATMs, post payment banks and withdrawal of cash over mobile for its lakhs of customers all over India. The department is also planning to start core banking facilities that will allow customers to carry out a safe and secured transaction. This move is likely to help the independent functioning of every sub-office. Also, devices akin to mini-ATMs will soon be at people's service. This will not only help in the development of the postal department, but will also help in providing services to the senior citizens and the disabled. 

KENYA: BusinessDayAfricaKenya is set to host a regional postal hub for distribution of parcels as African governments seek to grow e-commerce as an alternative source of revenue for State-owned postal authorities. The Universal Postal Union (UPU) has selected Nairobi as one of six African regional hubs for Ecom@Africa, a project which is supposed to drive the adoption of e-commerce on the continent.UPU will build a virtual e-commerce platform as well as a smart package distribution centre in each of the six countries. “Kenya would become a hub so that anything coming in would be distributed locally by Posta or connected to other countries in the region,” said postmaster general Mr Dan Kagwe.


NETHERLANDS: EcommerceNewsAliExpress, the business-to-consumer ecommerce marketplace of Alibaba, has selected Dutch postal service PostNL as the delivery partner for the majority of its packages to the Netherlands. Sellers on AliExpress will get direct access to PostNL’s distribution network, while Dutch consumer no longer have to wait for weeks to get their package.The Netherlands have become one of the key destinations for orders placed on

PHILIPPINES: OpenGov:  The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of the Philippines is working with a Singapore-based Filipino startup through its Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Singapore, to fix shortcomings of the postal code system in the Philippines and make deliveries more efficient. The startup by four Filipinos from Cebu has developed an app called Geopik, which uses geohashing and geolocation technologies, similar to that used by apps such as Waze or Google Maps, to create a digital address system, with exact, customisable and easy-to-remember single codes. The developers plan to map the address of every residential or commercial establishment in the country.

UNITED KINGDOM: FinancialTimesIn an update on Monday, Royal Mail said its latest valuation of the pension plan showed the annual cost of funding the plan would be £1.3bn, compared to current annual contributions of £400m. The company had previously estimated that the cost of maintaining its scheme could grow to over £1bn a year, and said last month that it would close the “unaffordable” scheme at the end of this financial year. The decision has raised the prospect of the UK’s first national postal strike since Royal Mail was privatised four years ago. The Communication Workers’ Union last month rejected a new pension offer from Royal Mail, and has vowed to ballot for strike action if the company attempts to impose its plans.

May 6, 2017

IRELAND: TheJournalSecurity around Ireland's postal depots has been heightened after Greek terrorists attempted to send a letterbomb to a financial firm in Dublin in March. Additional security measures are being implemented at various postal depots nationwide following the interception of a viable device at a Parisienne postal depot in March of this year. It was to be delivered to a company in Dublin.

May 3, 2017

CANADA: Post&Parcel: The Canada Post segment has reported a profit before tax in 2016 of $55m, bolstered by “solid growth” in parcelsIn a statement issued yesterday (2 May) Canada Post said that 2016 year-end results were still “a positive sign considering the significant challenges facing the company”.Canada Post explained: “With declining mail volumes, less than half of the segment’s revenue in 2016 was generated by Transaction Mail, or letters, bills and statements. In addition to that issue, the Corporation is faced with the challenges of significant pension obligations, labour costs and the need to invest in network capacity to keep up with growing parcel volumes.” The bright spot for Canada Post was the parcels business, where revenue has grown $521m since 2011 on the back of e-commerce.

GERMANY: Post&Parcel: DPD has become the first parcel delivery firm in Germany to provide an app for Amazon’s digital personal assistant Alexa. Michael Knaupe, director customer experience and communications, said, “Intelligent systems for voice control provide an extremely simple possibility for organizing our everyday activities. Amazon’s Alexa is an ideal opportunity for DPD of enhancing the customer experience in parcel shipping even further, and extending DPD’s market leadership in terms of digital innovations.” To enable consignees to identify with specific parcels the DPD app is linked with the company’s Parcel Navigator, an online platform for the management of parcels. In addition to Alexa, DPD also intends to use other forms of artificial intelligence and voice recognition in future.

SOUTH AFRICA: ItWebFollowing a period of instability at leadership level, the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) plans to steady itself by filling deputy director-general (DDGs) vacancies. The leadership crisis led to the exit and suspension of some high-profile officials. Over a period of six months in 2015, the department saw an exodus of three DDGs under hostile circumstances. These leadership challenges negatively impacted the department's ability to execute functions timeously, as previously admitted by telecoms and postal services minister Siyabonga Cwele.

TURKEY: DailySabah: Within the framework of Decree Law No. 690, the Post and Telegraph Organization (PTT), which was transferred to Turkey's Sovereign Wealth Fund, has been added to the list of electronic money issuing organizations. Within the framework of the regulations in the law on Payment and Security Settlement Systems, Payment Services and Electronic Money Organizations, the PTT is now included among electronic money issuers.

UNIVERSAL POSTAL UNION: Post&ParcelBell and Howell, represented by its CEO Ramesh L. Ratan, has been elected non-postal vice chair of the Universal Postal Union’s Direct Marketing Advisory Board (DMAB). The DMAB aims to foster the growth of direct marketing through the mail.

May 2, 2017

NIGERIA: TeleCompaper:  Nigerian payments service provider Paga and the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) have signed a deal aimed at making financial services available to the public through post offices nationwide as service points. This will be done through a Shared Agent Network framework approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria. Paga will expand its mobile money agent network to include post offices in all the Local Government Areas of Nigeria, while giving priority to areas where banking services are limited or otherwise difficult to access. Initially, it will offer deposits and withdrawals from bank accounts and mobile money wallets, utility bill payments and airtime recharge for all telecom networks. Other services such as savings and loans are scheduled for launch in partnership with banking partners.

April 28, 2017

NEPAL: HimalyanTimes:   Minister for Information and Communications Surendra Kumar Karki on Friday launched Mobile Postal Services operated by the General Post Office, Sundhara and urged all to make the postal service reliable and qualitative. The Office began the Services aimed at providing fast and prompt services and disseminating the information to the doorsteps of the locals in the Kathmandu Valley. Minister Karki added that the Ministry was working out to make the postal service attractive and the first choice of employees, adding that such services would be extended to other parts of the country in the future. It is stated that three vehicles will be mobilised for the Mobile Postal Services.

SOUTH AFRICA: BusinessLiveThe South African Post Office is putting together a business case to transform it into an "e-commerce hub for Africa", says CEO Mark Barnes.The state-owned postal service was in discussions with the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a UN specialised agency for the postal sector, Barnes said this week. The unveiling of the Post Office’s e-commerce strategy comes as the entity has struggled to return to profitability. It is seeking to secure the government’s multibillion-rand social grants contract, which would solve its revenue concerns and would keep this money within the fiscus.

UNITED KINGDOM: FinancialTimes: Royal Mail’s latest pension offer has been rejected by the union representing front-line staff, pushing the postal operator closer to its first national strike since it was privatised four years ago. The company announced earlier this month that it would close its £7.4bn defined benefit pension scheme to future accruals from March 2018, prompting the union to obtain advance approval for a strike ballot. Royal Mail on Friday rejected a package put forward by the union last month, which it said created “inherent risks to the company”. It set out a new plan that it described as a “fair proposal that compares favourably with the retirement benefits offered in our industry”, adding that it “includes elements” of the union plan.

UNITED KINGDOM: Reuters:  Britain's Royal Mail said on Friday it was looking at ways to replace the defined benefit pension scheme it plans to scrap at the end of March 2018, after a backlash from unions over the closure of the older scheme. Royal Mail, the British postal service privatised in 2013, said it was one of only a few major companies that still has employees in a defined benefit scheme, a type of pension that pays out according to employees' final salary and length of service. The Communications Workers Union (CWU) opposes Royal Mail's move to close the defined benefit plan and says it would result in employees in the plan losing on average up to a third of their future pensions. Around 90,000 Royal Mail workers are in the defined benefit scheme, whose closure to new members in 2008 resulted in about 40,000 workers joining a less generous defined contribution plan.