2021 is a year filled with efforts to rebound and stabilize disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With a boom in e-commerce during 2020, the global postal network is innovating in ways to capture high demand amidst constrained air transportation. International air transport is a key vehicle in handling EMS import and export volume. Enormous backlogs have led to shortages in air cargo capacity, and to meet these high demands, Posts are developing innovative cross-border transportation solutions for other postal products so that EMS, as a priority service, can be sent by air.
An alternative to air transport is the use of multimodal solutions, which is a model that many supply chain networks lean on to optimize volume transport. An efficient mix of air, surface, and sea transport is a common strategy utilized, and depending on each global region, different combinations of trans-shipments are used to efficiently transport goods. For example, the United States Postal Service has altered their period of delivery for a selection of products, including First-Class letters, by shifting more of its domestic delivery services from air transport to surface transport. By doing this, air cargo capacity is freed up as a result, making room for international mail and EMS services, like Priority Mail Express International, that require the mode of air transport to meet delivery expectations. Extensive networks, like EMS, are best equipped to adapt and serve in this capacity as their ability to reach every business and citizen in the world is unrivalled.
Air transport is still the quickest mode of transit; however, alternatives to air transport are achieving reliability in interesting ways. The UPU has pioneered the development of a rail delivery network between China and Europe that is fully dedicated to mail-only capacity. This route has destination points in China, Lithuania, and Poland, and handles an average of 5-6 containers per week, and total weight of 120-170 tons per month. The rail network is a useful solution for UPU member countries in these regions, and serves as a model to be replicated in other regions of the world. Similarly, China has been developing a Belt and Road Initiative that stretches from East Asia all the way through Europe - a great example of infrastructure that will support the logistics industry well into the future.
Efficient modes of transport are readily available to Posts. Customers using postal competitors are often unaware that in many cases, competitors rely on the networks of postal operators to ensure efficiency in their operations. Postal operators are well-equipped to adapt to constraints in air transport, and have a breadth of capabilities to reduce dependency on commercial flights so that services like EMS can be prioritized.
Prepared by The Colography Group Inc.