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Posts offer a whole host of services – both traditional and new – to meet the communication needs of billions of people and businesses every day. Instead of retreating before these new technologies, which are changing our concept of communication almost every day, Posts are changing too and showing that they can also be innovative.
A Post that is innovative and relevant
With the surge in new information and communication technologies transforming our world, many are wondering whether Posts really do have a future. My response is a categorical yes.
Some 65% of the world"s national Posts now offer online services, including online bill payments (16%), e-postage services (13%) and delivery of items against e-signatures (10%). Another 12% offer Internet shopping (e-commerce), and, a full 40% provide public Internet access points. A new top level domain name, .post, recently assigned by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), in sponsorship with the UPU, will enable the postal sector to establish a solid base in cyberspace for developing secure and trusted e-postal services.
This is a course that needs to be followed. While Posts worldwide continue to process more than 483 billion letters per year, mail volumes continue to decline as a result of electronic substitution and the recent financial crisis (particularly in industrialized countries and depending on the state of the economy).
And although physical mail will not be disappearing overnight any time soon despite this downward trend, Posts are looking to the future by diversifying their products and services. Thanks to e-commerce, parcel volumes are taking off. Posts in many countries are seeing annual growth rates of 20% in parcel volumes due to online sales. Posts are also offering more and more financial services, customized e-services, logistics services, administrative services and many others.
All of these services also create jobs and support local businesses. A study of 5,561 municipalities in Brazil revealed that the opening of a postal bank branch in one of these municipalities over four years directly resulted in a 14% increase in the number of new jobs and a 23% increase in the number of new small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). More generally, economists agree that postal services help to increase a country"s gross national product by at least 1%.
On this 9 October, World Post Day, let us remember the very relevant and valuable role the Post plays in the day-to-day lives of billions of people and businesses, not only as a means of communication, but also as an essential driver of economic growth.