Russian ministers back plan to speed up international mail

Russian ministers have approved plans by Russian Post to push for new agreements with foreign postal operators in order to speed up delivery of international mail. Deputy communications minister Naum Marder met with Russian Post representatives last week at the international postal exchange in Moscow to discuss the plans.

The key will be persuading foreign postal operators to ship mail bound for Russia to an international postal exchange in the territory nearest the final destination, rather than merely to Moscow.

At present, Russian Post says about 75% of international inbound mail is routed in through the Russian capital, from where it may need to travel thousands of miles further in order to reach its recipients.

Prior to negotiations Russian Post has already had with foreign posts this year, the proportion going through Moscow was as high as 92%.

Russian Post has been steadily expanding it international postal exchange network to improve efficiency, opening 14 new facilities in 2011.

It is predicting annual growth of international mail volumes may reach as high as 40-50% thanks to the growing number of internet users in Russia buying items from abroad.

The Communications Ministry said 60% of international mail coming into Russia comes from either the United States, China or Germany. As a result, the priority will be on arranging new partnerships with operators in those countries to steer mail directly to the regions of Russia, relieving the pressure from Moscow processing facilities as well as accelerating delivery overall.

In meeting Russian Post, the minister also supported the idea that legal reforms should be made to speed up the customs process.

Marder said an electronic exchange system should be set up for the transmission of customs data and customs declarations, in the manner the Universal Postal Union has devised, saying that such technology had proven successful in Canada.

Following the meeting, Russian Post director general Alexander Kiselev said his company had a lot of work to do to improve the quality of services and address the lack of investment in infrastructure and technology over the past decade.

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