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European Posts suspend overseas parcel deliveries as air capacity plummets

21 Mar 2020, 14:30 ... y-plummets

Postal operators in Europe are starting to suspend parcel services to other continents or warn of long delays due to the dramatic slump in available air capacity.

Airlines are cancelling the bulk of their passenger flights from Europe in response to the global travel collapse as countries close borders and impose entry bans to try to slow the worldwide spread of the Covid-19 virus.

This means that postal and parcel operators who normally ship international mail and light parcels as bellyhold cargo on passenger planes are facing an extreme shortage of airlift capacity. However, some airlines are starting to use passenger aircraft for cargo-only flights.

Bpost announced that from today (March 19) it is suspending sending letters and parcels to destinations outside Europe. Intra-European flows may also be impacted and be affected by delays, it warned. “bpost is closely monitoring the developing situation in the quest for alternatives,” it added.

Swiss Post said it is no longer accepting private parcels for many overseas destinations, although express shipments are still available and business customers can ship internationally through the Swiss Post GLS joint venture. “However, for all export shipments we can no longer maintain the state times for delivery,” the company warned.

PostNord has stopped accepting mail and parcels for all non-European destinations, with the exceptions of the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea. Finland’s Posti has introduced similar restrictions.

Other postal operators, such as PostNL and Spain’s Correos, are warning of long delays to major markets, including the USA.

Royal Mail said: “International services are operational and we continue to accept traffic for destinations across the globe. However, delays are expected due to the authorities in these countries applying special orders e.g. quarantine; or special measures being implemented (e.g. diverting to mail boxes, replacement procedures for obtaining a signature) by the local postal/delivery service to minimise the spread of the virus.”

Meanwhile, as CEP-Research reported yesterday, many European postal operators are rapidly switching over to so-called ‘contactless’ deliveries to avoid physical contact between delivery staff and recipients. This generally involves the delivery worker ringing the doorbell, stepping back at least 1.5 metres and, if someone accepts the parcel, signing for the delivery on behalf of the recipient.

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