The UPU's International Bureau (IB) has been monitoring the disruptions to the global postal supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and is seeking to identify possible ways to mitigate its impact – particularly with regard to the widespread restrictions and cancellations of passenger flights.
The IB is currently looking for alternatives to help Union member countries and their designated operators (DOs) airlift postal dispatches held in the offices of exchange of many countries. In this regard, the IB urges DOs to explore the use of cargo flights as an alternative to passenger flights where possible. There are indications that some airlines are also using their current spare capacity on passenger flights to carry cargo. DOs should explore this possibility with their partner airlines.
If any DOs are already using cargo flights and/or spare capacity on passenger flights to transport postal items, they are kindly invited to share information on these carriers with the UPU's Transport Programme Manager, Mr Ján Bojnanský, by e-mail at jan.bojnansky(at)upu.int. This will enable the IB to prepare a consolidated list of available carriers for reference for other Union member countries and their DOs.
Cooperating with IATA
In a similar vein, the IB has also been in contact with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to explore the possibility of using cargo flights as an alternative to passenger flights to ensure the continued transportation of postal items. Up-to-date information regarding the current availability and status of air cargo carriers can be found at www.tact-online.org/covid-19 and www.iata.org/cargo.
Furthermore, the IB remains in close contact with Union member countries and their DOs with a view to advising them on all existing restrictions owing to passenger flight cancellations and lack of transport capacity. The IB urges DOs to contact their local or regional airlines and surface cargo providers, and to share any information on available transport capacity (by air or any mode of surface transport) with the IB through the contact point indicated above.
A table consolidating all the information referred to above, including new transport solutions by rail, air freight and sea, is currently being prepared. It will be updated regularly based on input from all supply chain partners, and will be shared with all Union member countries and their DOs. The table will soon be accessible via the Quality Control System (QCS) big data tools, at qcsmailbd.ptc.post, using UPU Documentation Centre user credentials (the same as are used to access EmIS messages). The table provides details of new rail transport routes available between Europe and Asia (both ways), a new chartered cargo flight for the transportation of mail between Europe and China, and sea transport options to Australia, Canada and the United States. Please liaise with the contact persons provided in the table or with Mr Ján Bojnanský for more information.
In addition, Union member countries and their DOs can view the latest COVID-19 status table, which contains summaries of the messages received from Union member countries and their DOs on measures implemented in relation to the COVID-19 situation, at www.upu.int/en/activities/quality-of-service/communication-from-member-countries-on-covid-19.html. This includes additional information such as direct links to the text of any relevant EmIS messages and the indication of start/end dates (where applicable).
The IB is working to further enhance this status table, to meet the needs of Union member countries and their DOs in terms of accessibility and the relevance of the information provided. For further information or clarification of urgent matters of an operational or technical nature, UPU members can contact the IB by e-mail at urgent(at)upu.int and/or PTC.support(at)upu.int.
Cooperating with WCO
Coordination between customs administrations and designated postal operators (DOs) is critical to the continued facilitation of the global postal supply chain, and to mitigating the outbreak's overall impact on our societies. The UPU and the World Customs Organization (WCO) are working to facilitate the sharing of information on the global supply chain and ensure that items move efficiently across borders as many Posts switch to new means of transportation during this time. WCO is supporting this effort through its dedicated COVID-19 webpage.
Read more about how the partners are cooperating in the joint letter from UPU Director General, Bishar A. Hussein, and WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya.