Performance of international mail delivery falls short of EU standards

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International Post Corporation (IPC) has released the results of its 2016 UNEX report, which measures the performance of international priority letter mail services in Europe.

The results have shown that 83.2% of international priority and first-class letter mail in Europe was delivered within three days of posting, and that 95.2% was delivered within five days. The average delivery time was 2.7 days.

For the first time since 1998, performance levels dropped below the EU’s speed objective of 85% of intra-EU mail delivery within three days of posting, and its reliability objective of 97% within five days. The results include all 28 EU states as well as Iceland, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland.

Holger Winklbauer (right), CEO, IPC, said, “With more than half of the mail in Europe being delivered on the second day, the 2016 results of the UNEX monitoring of letter mail performance show that postal operators are committed to quality of service. Despite evolving and challenging market conditions, in particular, in terms of mail products mix, posts have demonstrated their ability to maintain a reliable service for customers.

“The need for a process review is emerging to accommodate on one hand the continuous decline of letter mail volume and on the other hand the rapidly increasing volume of mail products related to e-commerce such as untracked packets, including changing customers’ demands. The pressure on the existing traditional postal infrastructure and resources therefore remains high.”

IPC believes that the need to reduce operational costs related to declining international mail volumes explains the overall performance decrease for letter mail at a European level. To reduce costs, some operators have for example, changed transport options, by converting air transport into ground transportation where possible. Others have revised their domestic service standards, and hence, impacted the international mail transit times from posting to delivery to the addressee.

The results for UNEX 2016 were based on 65,000 test letters sent and received by 1,225 volunteers spread within the measured countries. More than 40% of the test letters contained radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, which were recorded by RFID readers as they pass through postal facilities. The test letters move anonymously through the international mail processing system, from posting to delivery.

March 27, 2017

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Dan originally joined Parcel and Postal Technology International in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As online editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest technological developments, Dan can be found on the golf course or apprehensively planning his next DIY project.

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