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The Future of the National Postal Operators in the Era of COVID

National postal operators around the world have struggled for the last decade (or more) with the drastic reduction in personal and business mail, offset with the increase in ecommerce parcels and packages. To take an example, over the last year, U.S. Postal Service (USPS) package volumes increased by 25%, while first-class and marketing mail continued to decline. At present, the US Congress has before it legislation for the ecommerce era. Indeed, the core strength of USPS is its integrated, national delivery network that delivers to more than 157 million delivery points 6 days a week. By taking advantage of its economies of scale, USPS is able to keep costs down for not only mail delivery, but also for parcel/package delivery.

The USPS has become, perhaps, one of the few exceptions in the developed world for remaining firmly a public entity, whereas nearly all other national postal operators have gone private to some extent or other in order to deal with the new business model. Will the US Congress move towards breaking the USPS monopoly? In SA the case brought by SAPO against PostNet which we reported on a couple of months ago has not progressed in the High Court. At the time we reported on this challenge by SAPO to the courier and other home-delivery services, we wondered if SAPO would try to speed up the case.

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