The Isle of Man has launched a consultation to update its 20-year-old postal legislation, and allow its Post Office to seek new business opportunities.
The self-governing British dependency in the Irish Sea wants to give its Post Office new freedoms to provide products and services beyond the scope of letter delivery, and outside the island.
In particular, with core mail volumes falling, proposals from the Department of Economic Development would allow development of hybrid mail, data management and digital communications technologies by the Isle of Man Post Office.
It could also continued diversifying services in areas like logistics, document and information management, financial services, identity verification and retail services through its post offices.
Views are being invited within the consultation by 5th October, with expectations that legislation would be adopted by July 2013.
The Isle of Man is currently operating its Post Office from regulations laid in 1993, but officials in the Department said the postal market was now “fundamentally different”, requiring an update in the law.
Post offices around the world are now diversifying into new products and markets to maintain their profitability and protect core services, said the consultation document.
And, the modern postal market now has a more international nature, it adds.
Announcing the consultation, Isle of Man economic minister John Shimmin said: “Over the last 19 years technology has significantly changed the way we communicate and do business.
“The current legislation was drafted before these changes and is viewed by the Post Office as outdated and prohibitive in enabling them to seize opportunities.”
The Isle of Man’s mail volumes reduced by 2.3% in 2011/12, but over the last six years have fallen by as much as 35%.
The decline has cost the Isle of Man Post Office between GBP 207,000 and GBP 567,000 a year in lost revenues, and this week’s consultation predicts that with Internet substitution, volumes could fall as much as 40% over the next five years in line with mail trends in the rest of the world.
Rather than cut delivery frequency or significantly increase postal rates, the consultation proposes diversifying the Isle of Man’s revenue streams to face up to the decline of the letters business.
With the Post Office looking to diversify its business internationally, there will be less concern about the company competing with the private sector in the Isle of Man itself, the consultation suggests.
Source: Post&Parcel/Department of Economic Development