Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Distressing Postal Volumes and Finances

tags: postal volumes, postal finacnces, postal operators, Univeral Postal Union (UPU)

Concerns over decreasing mail volumes and rising costs are a major concern for the world’s postal administrations.  And rightly so!  In just two years between 2008 and 2010, total volume of letter-post and ordinary parcels* have dropped more than 8.5%.  The international volume has dropped an astounding 27.2% between 2008 and 2010.  The only volume increase during that period was a 5.5% increase in domestic parcels.

Here in the U.S., the USPS’s operating losses continuing to make news.  They are one of 40 designated postal operators with a net operating loss in 2010 with 111 providing financial figures to the UPU.  In 2009, 32 out of 92 reported a loss and in 2008, the number was 35 out of 111.  Over all, the losses more than tripled between 2008 and 2010.  This is the case even leaving out the USPS’s record-setting deficits.

Postal administrations will not be able to sustain this level of loss with the current services and operations.  As some government end subsidies for postal operators and others look to decrease their own deficits, an influx of government funding is very unlikely.  A revision of the services provided and their pricing is much more likely.  Anyone who depend on mailing any items – domestically or internationally—needs to pay attention to this situation.

*The UPU defines as ordinary parcels as “All parcels the value of which is not declared”.  Letter–post is more complicated but is mainly composed of items under 4.4 pounds or 2 kilogrammes.  The raw data for this article is from the UPU’s great database of postal statistics for its member countries.  It’s free and it’s online.  www.upu.int/en/resources/postal-statistics/query-the-database.html