The Slow Death of the Postman
Will the delivery of mail soon be a thing of the past? Many postal services across the world are considering cutting delivery from 6 days a week to 5 or even 3 in order to lower costs as people increasingly turn to the Internet to communicate or pay bills. And many people seem ready to accept such a reduced service because they don't get much mail anyway! In Europe the postal system's total volume of mail could drop by more than 25% within the next 5 years. However there are significant disparities between countries with regard to the density of the postal system. The EU average rate is 2,4 post offices for every 10,000 inhabitants, but only 0,91 in Spain and 3,7 in Portugal. And the number of post offices has been drastically reduced in France, Finland or the UK but has been increased in Portugal or Poland. There is no doubt that letters in the near future and in most urban settings will be deposited in one place according to the specific needs of each district. And people will have to collect their own mail. But it should also be noted that the postal service in the EU is generating a turnover of about € 95 billion or 1% of the GDP. And this sector provides direct employment to more than 1,8 million people and indirectly to 5 million. Today many postal services are facing serious financial challenges and some of them even bankruptcy. Fortunately governments know how to reverse this trend. It is simple: become a major player in the Internet. E-commerce is in particular boosting demand for parcel delivery and it is expected to expand considerably in the years ahead. In fact the postman may be dying but the postal services have a future.