In the wake of widespread passenger flight cancellations this year, operators are using new methods to transport EMS over land, sea and air. Whereas once the focus was on using commercial passenger flights for EMS, the ever-changing travel restrictions has led to operators innovating to ensure that they are no longer dependent on one-single transport channel for EMS.
Cooperation and sharing of transport routes is keeping EMS moving. With the cancellation of flights, Serbia Post worked with its neighbours to use existing and new road links to transport EMS. This quick innovation allowed 14 countries to establish a reliable local regional network for EMS in Eastern Europe, including: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Moldova, Montenegro (Rep), North Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine.
EMS operators are working together to keep the network strong and helping smaller members to reach more destinations worldwide. The growing numbers of EMS member experts attending the EMS regional meetings are testimony to how useful it is to collaborate. The EMS network has been sharing availability of transport options for EMS through a shared matrix of destinations developed by Argentina Post. Through this matrix, members are finding new transit hub options such as the Amsterdam’s Airmail Unit, managed by PostNL.
Many EMS operators are already using cargo flights and/or spare capacity on passenger flights to transport EMS items. EMS Vietnam has adapted and harnessed alternative transport methods and shared its basic procedure for EMS dispatching for using cargo flights. At the end of October, Ukraine's Ukrposhta organised its biggest cargo flight to send 52 tonnes of its mail to the United States. China Post offered space and assistance to members wanting to use chartered flights that they had organized, including two extra flights to cope with peak season demand. Several operators are interested, Germany and the UK have already taken advantage of this offer to send their EMS items to China.
The UPU and the EMS Unit have been working throughout the year to assist members with transport issues. Recently, Abdelilah Bousseta, UPU Director of Postal Operations, wrote to Chief Operating Officers of Posts of South Africa, the UK and the US to request that they prioritize re-opening transit services for members that in in Johannesburg, London, Miami and New York for members in Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America which rely on transit to provide their customers with cross-border EMS, parcel-post and letter-post services.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to represent a global threat to the lives of people, the health of economies and postal networks, primarily because of the disruption of international transport. At the same time, we are seeing increased demand from customers for e-commerce services as an alternative means of obtaining goods, making the global EMS network more essential than ever before.