April 1- COVID-19 Update

Access Worldwide is processing mail normally. As you know the global impact of this coronavirus is evolving rapidly. We will continue to update you daily.

Please see the following updates received from the UPU on the service impacts due to COVID-19:

· Panama – All categories of inbound, outbound and transit mail are suspended until further notice.

· New Zealand – With effect from 25 March 2020, the Government of New Zealand has raised the COVID-19 alert level to 4 (the highest level), declared a national state of emergency, and introduced wide-ranging measures that include self-isolation for four weeks across the entire country, limitation of the number of staff working to provide essential services and the implementation of skeleton operating staffs, and a ban on domestic travel. New Zealand Post has been identified by the Government as a business entity that provides essential services to the people of New Zealand. Therefore, New Zealand Post will remain in operation during the alert level 4 lockdown period, insofar as possible under the state of emergency provisions and regulations in place. Owing to the above restrictions, New Zealand Post can no longer guarantee service delivery standards (such as delivery times and other quality parameters, transmission of scanning events. Delivery changes: New Zealand Post has changed the way in which items requiring signature are delivered, so as to eliminate the need for customers to use scanners. The delivery staff will knock at the door as usual, step back away from the door, and ask for the recipient’s name to record proof of delivery. In this way, the need for any physical contact is eliminated (EmIS 113/2020).

· Cape Verde – All UPU member countries are advised to expect serious delays for both inbound and outbound mail as a result of the numerous flight reductions and cancellations.

· Ukraine – Ukrposhta is maintaining its operations, with measures in place to protect staff and customers. As these measures include self-quarantine of staff, delays are to be expected in the delivery of all inbound mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items).

· France – For the postal-parcel division only:

– Offices of exchange FRAINB – FRBLDB – FRCYMA – FRDVRB – FRERNA – FRERNB – FRMCRA – FRSLMB – FRTLSJ will be closed on Monday, 30 March, Tuesday, 31 March and Saturday, 4 April 2020;

– As from Monday, 30 March, only items weighing less than 15 kg and with a maximum package size of 32 cm x 24 cm x 24 cm will be delivered by its commercial network;

– Every effort will be made to provide the service, but delivery standards will not be guaranteed;

– All other packages will be subject to delayed service;

– This measure will remain in effect until further notice.

· Russia – Owing to the quarantine measures implemented in Moscow to minimize the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the fact that the principal office of exchange for imports is located in Moscow, Russian Post is unable to guarantee compliance with delivery standards.

· Germany – Deutsche Post has implemented supplementary measures to reduce direct interaction with customers at their doorstep, in accordance with physical distancing requirements: inbound items requiring a payment by the recipient, such as cash-on-delivery (COD) or the payment of customs duties and taxes, will be immediately directed to a postal outlet for collection. Recipients will receive a notification as to which postal outlet is holding their item for collection.

· India – India Post has suspended all international mail exchanges for the time being. A complete countrywide lockdown has been announced until 14 April 2020. However, the postal service is being maintained as an essential service: domestic mail exchanges are continuing, and all international mails received by offices of exchange before 22 March 2020 are being delivered, though with limited staff, and subject to strict regulations announced by the government.The current situation will have a major impact on quality of service for all types of inbound and outbound mail. In these circumstances, India Post can no longer guarantee service delivery standards (including delivery times and other quality parameters).

Access Worldwide has contingency plans in place to handle these country suspensions. Any suspended countries will be diverted to a special hold area and kept by country and by day. Once the suspensions are lifted we will enter the mail at that time. We are set up to handle this country by country, so that we can release each country’s mail as soon as they are able to accept it.

As of Friday, April 3, 2020, service is suspended to the following countries:

1. Botswana

2. Bolivia

3. Cayman Islands

4. Chad

5. Ecuador

6. Fiji

7. French Polynesia

8. Honduras

9. India

10. Kuwait

11. Libya

12. Madagascar

13. Maldives

14. Mongolia

15. New Caledonia

16. Panama

17. Peru

18. Samoa

19. Saudi Arabia

20. South Africa

21. Sri Lanka

22. Zimbabwe

Today is the first day we received a policy statement from USPS on how they intend to handle items that have been mailed to the countries under suspension.

“For already deposited items, other than GXG, Postal Service employees must endorse them “Mail Service Suspended — Return to Sender” and then place them in the mail stream for return.

For any returned item bearing a customs form, the Postal Service will, upon request, refund postage and fees on mail returned due to the suspension of service.

For all other returned items not bearing a customs declarations form, the Postal Service will, upon request, refund postage and fees on mail returned due to the suspension of service, or the sender may remail them with the existing postage once service has been restored. When remailing under this option, customers must cross out the markings “Mail Service Suspended — Return to Sender.”

On April 1, 2020, the Postal Service received notifications from various postal operators regarding changes in international mail services due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The following countries have suspended certain mail services:

Botswana: BotswanaPost has advised that the President of Botswana has declared a state of emergency from April 2, 2020, until further notice. A lockdown of all the country’s services has been effected, except for essential services. In compliance with the lockdown, BotswanaPost is therefore suspending all international mail operations, including the acceptance and processing of all inbound and outbound letter-post, parcel-post and Express Mail Service (EMS) items until April 30, 2020, or a later date announced by the government.

Fiji: Post Fiji Ltd has advised that effective March 23, 2020, all international flights to and from Fiji are suspended until further notice. Post Fiji is therefore, experiencing significant disruption in its daily operations, which has led to suspension of collection and deliveries for all international letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items and services.

Unless otherwise noted, service suspensions to a particular country do not affect delivery of military and diplomatic mail.

The following countries have announced service disruptions:

Argentina: Correo Argentino has implemented health and safety measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. No letter-post, parcel-post or EMS items will require signatures upon delivery. Instead, the mail carrier will ask the addressee for a piece of ID and will record the number in the signature field. Owing to the cancellation of many international flights and diminished transportation capacity, Correo Argentino is unable to transport mail to an increasing number of countries. As a result, it has arranged for mail items addressed to foreign countries to be admitted on a conditional basis. These circumstances will affect the quality of service for all inbound and outbound mail. As such, Correo Argentino, has declared force majeure and will be unable to guarantee delivery service standards (e.g. delivery time).

Greece UPDATE: Hellenic Post (ELTA) has advised that, effective March, 30 2020, Hellenic Post will only be able to send – with delays expected due to limited capacity – letter-post and parcel-post items destined to:

• Europe (EU and non-EU countries): Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria (Rep.), Czech Rep., Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, North Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland.

• Rest of the world: Canada, Japan and Qatar.

The above list is subject to change on a daily basis. A situation of force majeure is declared and the acceptance of letter-post and parcel-post items destined to all other countries (including the United States) is suspended with immediate effect, until sufficient transport capacity becomes available.

Japan: Japan Post has advised that the coronavirus pandemic has caused many countries and territories to take measures such as ceasing to accept inbound international postal items, or significantly reducing or suspending flights to and from Japan. As a result, Japan Post’s transportation performance has significantly declined. Therefore, acceptance of international mail items (letter post, parcel post and EMS) by air and S.A.L. for various countries and territories is being temporarily suspended effective April 2, 2020. Further details are provided on the Japan Post website at www.post.japanpost.jp/int/information/2020/0401_02_en.html.

Mali: La Poste du Mali has advised that the Malian Government suspended of all commercial flights (other than cargo flights) from affected countries, which will affect postal services. This measure will remain in force until May 8, 2020, and may be extended as necessary. During this time, La Poste du Mali will be unable to meet its contractual obligations, particularly those relating to quality standards.

Serbia UPDATE: Public Enterprise Post of Serbia has advised that owing to the extremely difficult air transport situation, it is no longer able to dispatch postal items to the majority of destinations. The dispatching of all types of postal items to 186 international destinations has therefore been temporarily suspended. Currently, Post of Serbia is still dispatching and receiving letter-post, parcel-post or EMS items to and from the United States of America. ‎

Thailand: Thailand Post has advised that a state of emergency has been declared effect from March 26 to April 30, 2020 (or a later date that may be communicated in due course). There may be a severe impact on service quality for international inbound and outbound services, and service delivery standards can no longer be guaranteed. Moreover, owing to the suspension of flights from and to Thailand, and the resulting lack of transport capacity, Thailand Post is currently unable to send mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) to a growing number of countries. Please visit www.thailandpost.co.th/un/article_detail/article/11/17151 for up-to-date information on the countries concerned.

Turkey: Turkish PTT Corporation has advised that numerous international flights have been cancelled, resulting in a lack of transport capacity. Consequently, Turkish PTT Corporation is declaring a situation of force majeure with immediate effect, and delays are also to be expected for all other inbound and outbound postal items.

These service disruptions affect Priority Mail Express International® (PMEI), Priority Mail International® (PMI), First-Class Mail International® (FCMI), First-Class Package International Service® (FCPIS®), International Priority Airmail® (IPA®), International Surface Air Lift® (ISAL®), and M-Bag® items.

As always, we are available to discuss at your convenience. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about these new developments.

· India – India Post has suspended all international mail exchanges for the time being. A complete countrywide lockdown has been announced until 14 April 2020. However, the postal service is being maintained as an essential service: domestic mail exchanges are continuing, and all international mails received by offices of exchange before 22 March 2020 are being delivered, though with limited staff, and subject to strict regulations announced by the government.The current situation will have a major impact on quality of service for all types of inbound and outbound mail. In these circumstances, India Post can no longer guarantee service delivery standards (including delivery times and other quality parameters).