The UPU recognizes that the safety and security of the postal sector as part of the global supply chain is critical to supporting worldwide commerce and communication. To facilitate the development and implementation of security standards and best practices among Posts, the UPU has established the Postal Security Group (PSG).
Postal Security Group
Guided by the motto “Postal Security Makes Business Sense”, the Group, made up of security experts, is charged with the development of global and regional security strategies to assist the world’s Posts in their security missions.
Through training initiatives, consultation missions and prevention programmes, the PSG strives to protect the employees, customers and assets of Posts, and to safeguard mails from fraud, theft and misuse.
To establish worldwide postal security, encourage and promote the creation of postal security services in all UPU member countries, and to establish contact and collaborate with international organizations.
- Prevention of injuries to people due to the carriage of dangerous goods in the mail
- Prevention of loss or theft of mail entrusted to Posts
- Prevention of revenue or asset losses by Posts
- Preservation of customer confidence in the Posts
PSG security programs and crime prevention training are the mainstay in the development of worldwide postal security units. Security courses are organized regionally with the assistance of the UPU. Training covers:
- Basic postal security and investigations
- Emergency Planning and Risk Assessment
- Airport security coordination and quality of service/security reviews
- Countering of drug trafficking and money laundering through the post
- Procedures for accepting and controlling the induction of dangerous goods
- International postal revenue protection
Chair’s Award for Postal Security
The UPU recognizes the impact that individual leadership can have in the promotion of security programmes throughout the world, often requiring time and resources from a UPU member country. The Director General of the UPU International Bureau and the Chair of the Postal Security Group (PSG) wish to formally acknowledge the efforts, experience and exceptional initiative of leaders in this sector, who spearhead security initiatives for the postal community as a whole.
Inaugurated in 2021, the Chair’s Award for Postal Security will open each July and the winner will be presented with a certificate during a scheduled PSG meeting.
Postal Security Group
ICAO-UPU Contact Committee
Information Technology Security Experts Panel (ITSEP)
Transport by post of equipment containing lithium batteries (ECLB)
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) amended the 2013–2014 edition of the Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air to allow such transport from 1 January 2013.
A list of all member states and points of contact for dangerous goods is available via ICAO’s public website
List of authorized designated operators
As designated operators (DOs), national aviation authorities and airlines need to know which Posts have been approved to make ECLB shipments so that they can plan the handling of such shipments, the UPU provides a list of DOs that have been authorized to ship ECLB, including the date from which they have been authorized to make these shipments and other related information.
Reporting of dangerous goods incidents and accidents to civil aviation authorities and the UPU
The training material has been developed in cooperation with ICAO, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and several civil aviation administrations.
The material provides a good base for dangerous goods training in Posts and complies with the requirements of Tables 1-6 of the ICAO Technical Instructions and the training competencies.
National Posts should meet with their respective civil aviation administration or national authority to establish an agreement on the necessary level of training.
As part of the “Keep Me Safe” campaign regarding dangerous goods and prohibited mail, developed in collaboration with IATA, ICAO and the World Customs Organization (WCO), various communication materials are available, including flyers, guidelines and posters. These communication materials are intended to help Posts raise awareness of the rules on sending dangerous goods and prohibited items through the international postal supply chain.
International Narcotics Control Board training
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is the independent monitoring body for the implementation of the United Nations international drug control conventions. Its Global Rapid Interdiction of Dangerous Substances (GRIDS) Programme aims to measurably reduce trafficking in dangerous substances of concern, with a particular focus on synthetic opioids, fentanyls and new psychoactive substances. Through a 2018 UPU–INCB cooperation agreement and in conjunction with the World Customs Organization (WCO), the US Postal Inspection Service and other concerned countries, awareness-raising and training materials were compiled on safe handling and interdiction methods for fentanyl-related substances in postal and express mail channels. These materials are part of the UPU–WCO–INCB joint security training programme and are available to postal security focal points via the ELITE online training platform in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Access to the ELITE platform is restricted and available by e-mail request (email@example.com).
English Information on prohibited items can be found in the Customs section.
Guidelines and contingency planning
Guidelines for the enactment of postal criminal laws
Controlling the introduction of dangerous goods into postal networks
Do not load (DNL) guidelines
Mail Safety Guidelines
Practical guidance for postal and express couriers on the prevention and interdiction of non-medical synthetic opioids and fentanyls
Contingency planning – Explosive devices in the post
Guidelines for Postal Crime Prevention
UPU Global Plan for Road Safety
Postal security standards
One of the objectives of the Postal Security Group (PSG) is to enhance the security of all operations within the postal sector. The PSG in collaboration with other UPU stakeholders has defined a minimum set of security requirements, which can be applied to all facets of the sector.
Developing measurable standards of security for the postal sector contributes to protecting postal employees and assets; protecting postal items in general; contributing to the security of the mode of transport used to carry mail items and protecting the overall supply chain.
Physical and procedural security standards
The physical and procedural security standards developed under the auspices of the PSG are applicable to critical facilities in the postal network:
General security measures defining the minimum physical and process security requirements applicable to critical facilities within the postal network
Office of exchange and international airmail security defining minimum requirements for secure operations relating to the transport of international mail
In 2010, the conveyance of explosive materials through courier air transport gave rise to international support for the development of postal security standards consistent with the established guidelines of other cargo transportation agencies for the protection of commerce in the international supply chain.
UPU security certification is intended to provide a means to assist member countries in identifying opportunities to improve security, measure DOs’ compliance with UPU security standards S58 and S59, and establish a process to further UPU security strategy objectives to educate, raise awareness and increase the security of all postal sector operations.
The certification procedure can take place only if the DO applying for certification completes and submits a self-assessment via firstname.lastname@example.org.
A certification procedure can be launched only upon submission of a completed self-assessment for each critical facility for which a DO seeks to achieve certification. All required documentation must be current, complete and available for review.
The self-assessment is intended to assess whether the organizational system implemented by the DO meets the mandatory minimum security requirements.
The assigned DO focal point should request a review directly from the International Bureau by sending an e-mail to the UPU security mailbox at email@example.com. This request should include a self-assessment report for the critical facility seeking certification, confirmation that all associated documentation is available for review, and photographic evidence of the critical security measures in place within the relevant facility.
The list of required documentation provides all documents which are necessary for the fulfilment of the certification process.
In some cases, a DO is obliged to comply with the security requirements of its national legislative or regulatory civil aviation authorities, or of external organizations such as ICAO, IATA and the WCO. The UPU recognizes that these third-party standards (e.g. ICAO’s Regulated Agent and the WCO’s Authorized Economic Operator) may be more rigorous than those set out in S58 and S59, which are considered to be basic standards attainable by all DOs.
If a DO complies with these higher-level security standards and can show that they are equivalent to or exceed S58 and S59 standards, it may be possible for the DO to be accredited with an equivalency recognition of S58 and S59 certification, provided that all security measures have been fully implemented. This serves to facilitate cooperation and harmonize efforts among stakeholders to develop and maintain a secure supply chain system.
In order for a DO to be recognized as being equivalently certified, the appropriate focal point must complete and submit to the PSG the equivalency assessment workbook, the related required documentation as detailed above, and written justification regarding its adherence to the security requirements of its national legislative or regulatory civil aviation authorities or of external organization such as ICAO and the WCO. All documents must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Certified critical facilities
A list of UPU-certified critical facilities and their associated DOs, indicating the year of certification, the level achieved and the start and end dates of the certification validity, is available via the links below.
Reporting of detained mail
The Transport Group is collecting data from designated operators on alarm incidents, in coordination with the Postal Security Group and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
An "alarm incident" triggering an "alarm resolution procedure" can occur during the handling of dangerous goods or prohibited, inadmissible or wrongly admitted items. Alarm incidents may be discovered by air carriers, airport authorities, or designated operators.
19.02.2020Designated operators (as well as air carriers and airport authorities on the IATA side) are asked to complete the document and e-mail it to: upu.alarm(at)upu.int. Any designated operators with questions or requiring assistance can contact the International Bureau at the above email.
The SharePoint provides members with updates and information relative to security in the postal supply chain.