IPC: research illustrates the efforts by posts to guarantee mail flows in 2021

IPC: research illustrates the efforts by posts to guarantee mail flows in 2021

The IPC UNEX 2021 CEN module results released today show that, on average, international priority letter mail in Europe was delivered in 4.1 days (compared to 4.4 in 2020), despite the postal industry being affected by COVID-19 and the continued waves and variants of the virus.

Both transit times and service quality continued to be severely impacted across Europe in various ways, while the UNEX 2021 results show that posts continued to be resilient and even initiated a slow recovery, having delivered about 60% of the mail in three days (speed indicator) and more than 80% in five days (reliability indicator).

Holger Winklbauer, IPC CEO said: “The 2021 UNEX results reflect the efforts accomplished by posts to guarantee mail flows and ensure that there was a continued service to the postal customers despite the pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, IPC’s priority has been to ensure mail continuity by facilitating information sharing and cooperation between posts in Europe and beyond and by putting in place alternative solutions to compensate for the lack of airline capacity”.

The IPC UNEX CEN measurement is end-to-end: from posting in the origin country, to delivery to the final addressee in the destination country. Due to the end-to-end nature of the measurement, the challenges encountered in the posts impacted their postal partners and vice versa. This includes the postal operations’ time for collection in the origin country, sorting, international transportation, and processing and delivery in the destination country. All posts were impacted by national restrictions to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, at domestic sorting, collection or delivery level due to staff shortages. Transportation times also continued to be heavily affected by international transport disruption, in particular the reduction of both air transport capacity and capability in Europe, requiring solutions and adjustments on an on-going basis, such as shifting to road or sea.

The UNEX results published are from the UNEX CEN measurement, which is conducted independently by the external research firm Quotas in Hamburg, Germany. An external audit by Mieloo & Alexander (based in Hoofddorp, the Netherlands) has proven this module to be compliant with the CEN EN 13850:2012 standard for measurement of the transit time of end-to-end postal services for single piece priority mail and first-class mail.

The 2021 results of the UNEX CEN module are based on a total of 80,000 test letters sent and received by 900 volunteers spread within 32 countries, participating in the measurement, the 27 EU Member States together with Iceland, Norway, Serbia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Overall, 794 country-to-country flows were measured. IPC’s UNEX mail monitoring system measures quality of service performance for end-to-end cross-border priority letter mail. The test letters are representative of real mail in terms of mail formats, induction and franking methods, delivery methods and geographical spread within each of the measured European countries. About half of the test letters contained Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, which are recorded by the RFID readers as it passes through the postal facilities.

The UNEX results 2021 brochure is available at: More information about UNEXhttps://www.ipc.be/services/operational-performance-services/unex

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