In virtually every country, customers can mail letters, packets and parcels to any other country in the world, every day. The staff responsible for defining the operational network for an origin Post must plan transport and transit, also called "Leg 2 – Transportation", to every country in the world, and do so such that it is logical for every day of the week and every season of the year, both for priority mail and non-priority mail.
This can be a very complex task, especially considering the changeability of conditions: daily and seasonal mail volumes, flight schedules, aircraft capacities, office of exchange (OE) working hours, etc. There is added complexity because the operational network plan (e.g. flights and transit arrangements) must be loaded into the dispatch system in a timely manner, so that when the origin office of exchange creates a receptacle label, the routing information is included. In addition, the quality of this transport and transit planning directly influences the quality of service.
The Transport Group of the UPU Postal Operations Council examines matters relating to all modes of mail transportation. To achieve this goal, it works in direct collaboration with the International Air Transport Association (IATA), through the IATA-UPU Contact Committee. It also works in direct collaboration with Rail Organizations through the UPU-Rail Contact Committee on matters relating to the international transportation of mail by rail. All meeting documents are available to members (with UPU accounts) at the UPU Documentation Centre.
Safe and secure transportation
Within the Global Postal Model, designated postal operators and mail carriers have roles and responsibilities to ensure that transportation of mail products is safe.
Safety and security are enhanced through the sharing of electronic data among the various transport stakeholders. The UPU and several industry groups and international bodies are combining efforts to promote the correct use of Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) messages in order to overcome the transport challenges in terms of customer expectations and regulatory requirements. EDI interconnects posts and airlines, enabling the creation of an integrated end-to-end network that delivers an enhanced level of customer service through a managed supply chain.
Transport Workshops: UPU and IATA Transport experts share the latest developments concerning postal transport in workshops carried out in various regions of the world to help designated postal operators with implementation of EDI exchange, improvement of Leg 2 performance and meeting all legal requirements.
UPU Publications: UPU Transport publications are important resources either to understand postal transport operations or to plan them.
Paper-free transport for Designated Operators and carriers:
A progressive step forward
By switching from traditional paper documents to paper-free transport for postal products, modern logistics systems have significantly improved in terms of efficiency and sustainability. This change in mindset aims to eliminate the reliance on conventional paper-based documentation and digitally streamline the entire process. Through the UPU's collaboration with the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), the postal sector is well positioned to enhance product tracking, management, and delivery through the integration of cutting-edge technology and digital platforms, resulting in a more efficient and environmentally conscious mail delivery experience.
The benefits of paper-free transport for designated postal operators and carriers are numerous: expedited processing in operations; enhanced tracking and monitoring; improved cost efficiency; reduced physical storage; information accessibility worldwide; environmental sustainability (Goal 13 (Climate action) of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals), among others.
Paper-free transport focal point – Contact information form14.09.2023
The UPU International Bureau is currently working on a number of transport-related projects, including paper-free transport. The goal is to develop a unique, comprehensive transport contact database to help all postal supply chain partners to successfully communicate and work together to improve operational efficiency. Designated operators and carriers are therefore encouraged to complete this form and send it to email@example.com. Please be assured that any information provided will be kept strictly confidential and will be used solely to improve collaboration and communication among supply chain stakeholders.
Paper-free route implementation guidelines for Posts and carriers (2022)01.09.2023
This document explains the key conditions and operating procedures to be met by all stakeholders in order to discontinue the printing of paper delivery bills (CN 38, CN 41 and CN 47) for airmail carriage.
The following partners have already adopted this practice:
Paper-free origin designated operators: AT, AU, BE, CA, CH, DE, DK, ES, FR, GB, GR, HR, HU, IS, LT, LU, LV, NL, NO, PT, SE, US and VN
Paper-free carriers: AA, AC, AF, AY, BA, BT, CX, DL, EK, EY, FI, GL, IB, JQ, KL, LH, LO, LX, NZ, OS, QF, QR, SK, SQ, SN, TP and UA
For further information, please contact Transport@upu.int
Configuration of paper-free transport with the International Postal System (IPS)
This document describes the steps to follow in the International Postal System (IPS) to configure paper-free transport for selected mail classes, UPU forms and destination designated operators to whom the sending of paper forms will be discontinued.
UPU transport publications
Postal Transport Guide (2018)01.09.2020The guide is an information source for postal staff dealing with postal transport and transit. It deals with all elements of international postal transport and transit.
Electronic Consignment Security Declaration (eCSD) Guidelines (2018)01.09.2020These Guidelines are aimed at the designated operators (DOs) that are implementing the electronic consignment security declaration (eCDS) for mail consignments. The purpose of the Guidelines is to provide DOs with a simple description of how to implement the eCSD and where to find further information.
01.09.2020The CN 68 list contained the airmail information for each country of the UPU or each dependent territory of a member country. The list has been discontinued, and any relevant information has been transferred to the Letter Post Compendium, the Transport section of the UPU website, or the Quality Control System (QCS).
Guidelines for establishing an international postal rail transport service (2022)08.02.2023For all stakeholders, postal rail provides unique opportunities to improve business processes and to facilitate and promote global trade, thus leveraging vast postal and rail networks and promoting regional integration and economic competitiveness. The objective of the guidelines is to provide an information source for designated operators, customs administrations and railway companies dealing with the international transportation of postal items by rail.
25.07.2022Contains international and domestic airmail distances. Domestic routes assigned for international transit cover the countries that send their data to the International Bureau for the weights and costs for mail forwarded by air within their country.
PREDES and RESDES message exchanges: overview and benefits (2019)01.09.2020Exchanging electronic messages PREDES and RESDES allows tracking, assisting in handling anomalies; reducing manual data entry, cost savings; monitoring and analysis leading to quality improvements.
QCS Dispatch - Service and volume report - User Guide28.09.2020This guide is in three parts:
- Part A is intended to provide information and explanation regarding how the report can be used to analyse and improve postal operational processes.
- Part B is intended to illustrate how to use the features of Excel when using the QCS Dispatch - Service and volume report Excel file.
- Part C is a short supplement to part A, primarily to assist in interpreting the report contents.
IATA-UPU: cooperation and publications
Framework Postal Service Agreement between an airline and a designated postal operator (2022)02.06.2022This document is a standardized departure point for airlines and designated postal operators to formalize their commercial relationships. The latest update contains comprehensive articles pertaining to performance, dangerous goods, liability and messaging, while reducing the content of the annexes to leave greater scope for the parties to agree on specific details. It also includes detailed information on how to build up the annex section and on the tender process.
For further information: Transport@upu.int
Guidelines for using the Framework Postal Service Agreement between an airline and a designated postal operator (2022)02.06.2022The guidelines aim to provide supplementary information on the provisions of the Framework Service Agreement in order to help designated operators better understand and use them.
EDI Guide: Providing end-to-end airmail visibility07.10.2020By leveraging and expanding, the electronic data interchange (EDI) standards and technology already in place can help your company grow its market share and increase revenues, improve customer service, reduce costs, and promote efficiencies.
07.10.2020Guidance on the use of aircraft configured for the carriage of passengers to safely transport mail.
IATA Unit Load Device (ULD) Guidelines07.10.2020Unit Load Devices (ULDs) are containers very often used by air carriers to transport mail. IATA and UPU are raising awareness among designated postal operators about the importance of the safe use and handling of ULDs by all concerned parties.
IATA-UPU Webinars (English only)
Representatives of posts, air carriers, ground handlers, government authorities and international organizations gather regularly for an update on matters relating to airmail. Subjects discussed include Safety and Security, Electronic Advance Data (EAD), E-Commerce as well as current mail transport challenges and solutions.
For suggestions about future IATA-UPU webinars, please contact Transport(at)upu.int
4th Webinar - Stakeholders’ compliance and readiness for mail transport under PLACI regimes
30 May 2023
3rd Webinar - Mail Transport Challenges and Solutions
30 November 2022
2nd Webinar - Airmail: For an efficient, safe, secure and seamless delivery
13 April 2022
1st Webinar - Airmail: For an efficient, safe, secure and seamless delivery
29 September 2021
Basic Air Conveyance Rate
The basic rate applicable to the settlement of accounts between designated operators in respect of air conveyance is approved each year by the Postal Operations Council and published in an International Bureau Circular.
0.510 SDR per tonne/km (see IB Circular 2022/80)
0.536 SDR per tonne/km (See IB Circular 2023/83)
Internal air conveyance dues
In application of the provisions of article 34-101 of the UPU Convention Regulations, the International Bureau publishes every year a list of Designated Operators entitled to reimbursement of air conveyance dues within their country. Please see IB Circular No. 20 of 6 February 2023 with information for 2023.
The 2023 internal air conveyance dues questionnaire is available for download here. Replies must be submitted to the International Bureau (Transport@upu.int) by 30 September 2023 at the latest.
International Bureau Circulars with information for 2023, 2022 and 202130.06.2023
Airmail distances and maximum rates
09.06.2022Information for the calculation of air transit/transport costs.
09.06.2023Information for the calculation of air transit/transport costs.