Thursday, June 14, 2012

How Much International Mail Is Not Delivered? Nobody Knows.

tags:  undeliverable mail,  international postal logistics, Univeral Postal Union (UPU)

Many countries do not track how many pieces of mail go undelivered.  So, it comes as no surprise that international statistics on undelivered mail do not exist.  Some mail is undeliverable because of poor or incorrect addressing.  Mail is also abandoned, when a signature is needed or a fee must be paid or something else prevents delivery. 

No mailer wants to waste the resources that go into maintaining addresses, printing mail pieces and posting them on mail that will not reach its destination.  Postal operators spend a large amount of money to return undeliverable mail and to destroy mail that can neither be delivered nor returned.  Both groups would benefit from more information on the exact causes of unsuccessful delivery. 

Finding out what is preventing delivery and why and where will allow the postal community – mailers, logistics companies, and postal operators – to take appropriate steps to reduce the waste that this creates.  As international commerce from Internet purchases increases, gathering this information becomes more important to all our businesses. 

Support is now being gathered to submit a resolution the Universal Postal Union’s quadrennial congress this September that will mandate a study of this problem.  This proposal deserves support. 

It is time to stop guessing and find out what is happening.  We all know that good business decisions depend on knowledge.  We all need this knowledge to improve the international postal system and our own businesses. 

As I wrote last week, it is time for a system for international notifications for changes of address or “gone away” addresses.  That would reduce undeliverable international mail, too.

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