Russian Post expands cross-border mail capacity

Russian Post is planning to continue expanding its international mail processing capacity next year, as the number of incoming mailpieces from abroad continues to soar. During 2011, the state-owned operator has added four new international postal exchanges to its network, in Orenburg, Pulkovo, Sheremetyevo and Vladikavkaz. 

The additions expanded available floorspace for international operations by 7,111 square metres, a 55% growth in available space. 

The number of staff involved in the processing of international mail has grown to 1,850 this year, double the number in 2010.

The company now has 14 such facilities, with plans to open new international exchangs in Sochi and Artyom next year.

Fitting out its network with 230m rubles worth of new equipment, including 14 new x-ray screening machines, Russian Post said it has been working closely with Russia’s Customs department to improve its international logistics process.

Russian Post said since the beginning of 2009. incoming interrnational mail volumes have tripled, and the number of small packages coming into the country from abroad has quadrupled, particularly because of the growing number of Russians shopping through foreign e-commerce sites.

December 2011 has seen 7m items sent to Russia, including 1.5m parcels.Russian Post has been trying to decentralise its international operations to some extent, reducing the strain on its Moscow mail plant.

However, it states that foreign postal operators tend not to sort mail into different Russian regions, and send it en mass “wherever it suits them”, which means usually to Moscow.

Until recently more than 92% of incoming mail went through Moscow, though now around 75% of shipments go to Moscow, 7% to Bryansk and Samara, 4% to St Petersburg and 3% to Kaliningrad.

“Thanks to these efforts, Russian Post has been able to successfully expedite shipments through the international postal exchanges and shorten transit times to their delivery destinations. Currently, there is little or no delayed transit through the mailrooms of the international postal exchanges,” the company said last week. 

Future delays could still occur from issues like adverse weather conditions, foreign transportation capacity problems or constraints within foreign infrastructure, but Russian Post said it was making every effort to minimise these associated risks.

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