March 19 – COVID-19 Update

Following are the updates received today from the UPU concerning service impacts due to COVID-19:

·        Slovenia – Suspended signature on delivery for inbound items insofar as possible.  In order to avoid human contact, Pošta Slovenije will deliver items using alternative delivery methods where possible. This includes delivery to agreed locations without physical contact (e.g. P.O. boxes, mailboxes, parcel lockers) and delivery without signature (to this end, a new “contact-free delivery” status for internal items has been introduced within the domestic Track & Trace system). 

·        Malaysia – Delays are expected in processing, transportation and delivery of both incoming and outgoing international shipments of letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items, owing to suspension of services, cancellation of flights, shutdown of airports and implementation of preventative measures to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19.  The dispatching of all outbound airmails (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) to the following countries is expected to be severely delayed:

– Canada and United States of America (from 30 March 2020):

For inbound mail deliveries, letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items will be handled as follows:

Items requiring signature on delivery will no longer be signed at the moment of handover to the recipient, for health, safety and security reasons. Instead, the postman will ask for the recipient’s name and will enter this information in the signature field of the handheld device or delivery manifest. This temporary measure came into force from Monday, 16 March 2020 and remains in effect until further notice.  For delivery of items to a mail room, the addressee will receive a text message or telephone call.  Deliveries to premises or areas needing to be closed down due to COVID-19 are suspended.     

·        Tunisia –  The Government of Tunisia has decided to close all air and land borders, with effect from 18 March 2020 and until further notice.  Consequently, the main partner airline “Tunisair” has suspended all commercial flights for an undefined period. La Poste Tunisienne is therefore no longer able to send or receive postal items to or from other designated operators. 

·        United Kingdom – Royal Mail Group can no longer guarantee service delivery standards (including delivery times and other quality parameters) applicable under UPU and associated or related bilateral and multilateral agreements.  Also, Royal Mail and Parcelforce have had to change their delivery process for all letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items requiring signature on delivery. As from 13 March 2020, items requiring a signature on delivery will not always be signed for by the recipient. Instead, in these exceptional and difficult circumstances, where the recipient has not been able to sign for the item but has duly received it, a code (XP1) will be entered into the handheld device, and this will constitute evidence of receipt. 

·        Hong Kong – Hongkong Post asks us to inform other Union member countries and their designated operators that the processing of all inbound and outbound mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) is now back to normal.

·        Singapore –

Inbound mail items (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS) 

Signature on delivery will be suspended with immediate effect for all letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items. However, tracked confirmation of deliveries will be provided via the usual tracking event scans for products that allow tracking.   All letter-box-sized items (including registered, tracked, parcel and EMS items) will be deposited in letter boxes. For items larger than letter-box size, delivery will be made to parcel locker stations (POP stations), post offices or collection points (in descending order of priority) for collection by the addressee.  The provision of the addressee’s mobile number on all items, if possible, will expedite the above process. For items for which no mobile number has been provided, delayed delivery is to be expected.  It will not be mandatory for Singapore Post to provide written proof of delivery, and delivery will be deemed to have occurred when collection is confirmed at the designated collection points.  These special measures have been implemented in order to reduce the risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and to keep staff and customers safe by avoiding human contact. However, these measures will have an impact on quality of service for all types of inbound mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items). This impact is expected to last until the end of the pandemic. Accordingly, inbound service delivery standards cannot be guaranteed until the situation returns to normal.

All outbound mail items (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS)

Owing to the suspension and cancellation of many flights to and from Singapore, as a result of the rapid spread of COVID-19, severe delays for all outbound mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) conveyed via air transport are to be expected until sufficient transport capacity becomes available.

·        Israel – Suspended signature on delivery for inbound items. For safety reasons, delivery will be conducted via methods that restrict direct contact, with immediate effect. For all letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items requiring signature on delivery, no signature will be required and the item will be left at the door, after being scanned and photographed to ensure that delivery has been made. If possible, the name of the addressee shall be recorded.

·        Ireland – Suspended signature on delivery for inbound items. Delivery will be conducted via methods that limit direct contact, with immediate effect.

·        Norway –  Owing to the lack of transport capacity following numerous cancellations of international flights resulting from authorities’ measures to limit the transmission of COVID-19, the postal operator of Norway,  Posten Norge AS, is currently unable to send postal items to any countries outside the European Union, with the exception of Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea (Rep.), Liechtenstein, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.   Posten Norge AS is therefore declaring a situation of force majeure and ceasing, with immediate effect, to accept postal items destined for member countries not listed above, until sufficient transport capacity becomes available. Delays are also to be expected for postal items destined to member countries listed above.

·        Malta –  All letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items requiring signature on delivery will no longer be signed at the moment of handover to the recipient, for health, safety and security reasons. For these items, the postman/woman will ask for the recipient’s name and ID number, and this information will be entered by the postman/woman in the signature field on the registration barcode sticker.

·        Turkey – Quality of service for all types of inbound mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items). For this reason, service delivery standards cannot be guaranteed and a situation of force majeure has been declared until the situation returns to normal.

·        Myanmar – Suspended all passenger flights from and to Yangon International Airport, with effect from 18 March 2020 until 30 April 2020 inclusive.  Owing to this situation, Myanmar Post will be unable to provide outbound mail services (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) to international destinations and is therefore ceasing, with immediate effect, to accept letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items until passenger flights resume at Yangon International Airport.

 

·        Suriname – The country is in “lockdown”. The government has decided not to allow international flights until further notice.  Quality of service for all types of inbound and outbound mail (letter post, parcels and EMS) is impacted.  For this reason, service delivery standards cannot be guaranteed and a situation of force majeure has been declared until the situation returns to normal.

 

·        Canada – Canada Post is experiencing significant disruption to its daily operations owing to exceptional precautionary measures, including the temporary closure of many institutions (schools, universities, public institutions, etc.) and self-quarantine for affected individuals. There is also considerable disruption with regard to airlines and other transport providers. This is having a direct impact on service quality for international inbound and outbound services. Canada Post is therefore declaring a situation of force majeure in relation to all international letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items, as a result of the global spread of COVID-19.

In response to directives issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada and pursuant to its commitment to preserve the health and safety of its employees and of Canadians, Canada Post is making changes to its delivery procedures in order to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Until further notice, it will no longer request a signature for any deliveries. Instead, its delivery agents will apply “safe drop” procedures whenever it is possible to do so. If such procedures are not possible, the delivery agent will leave a delivery notice card indicating the retail location from which the item can be collected. A delivery notice card will be left for the addressee for all registered items and items requiring the payment of duties and taxes.

·        Ecuador –  All postal services in Ecuador are suspended with immediate effect until further notice.

·        Armenia – Owing to the suspension of flights resulting from the outbreak and spread of COVID-19, the postal operator of Armenia expects serious delays in processing of inbound and outbound mail (letter-post, parcel post and EMS items) from 19 March 2020 until further notice.  This will have a major impact on operations and, consequently, on quality of service for all types of inbound and outbound mail (letter-post, parcel post and EMS items).   Delivery may be performed via methods that restrict direct contact. For all letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items requiring signature on delivery, the addressee’s signature may be replaced in the signature field by the postman/postwoman’s signature, together with the delivery code.

·        Serbia – Public Enterprise Post of Serbia has made organizational changes regarding the acceptance, processing and delivery of all inbound and outbound mail products (letter-post, parcel post and EMS items), and the changes made will affect domestic and international quality of service.  For this reason, Public Enterprise Post of Serbia cannot guarantee service delivery standards during the current state of force majeure, and will be able to do so only once the situation has returned to normal.

·        Croatia – A special process for postal items subject to signature upon delivery has been introduced as from Wednesday, 18 March 2020.  For registered or insured items, parcels and EMS items, the item will be placed in the addressee’s mailbox or deposited at the front door of their house or flat. In the signature field, the postman will enter “C-19” to indicate that the item has been delivered without the recipient’s signature. 

·        Austria – The Austrian government has extended the measures aimed at slowing the pandemic spread of the corona virus, Covid-19. Postal services will be affected by the regulatory measures. The measures will be in effect at least until 14th of April 2020 and may be amended from time to time.  As long as these regulatory measures are in place, the  Austrian Post will no longer be able to meet all of its contractual obligations, in particular the quality delivery standards, in full.