Postal Digest: Brazil address data goes online; Vote on Swiss Post green project

Rounding up more of the latest news from around the postal world, with Uruguayan Post set to expand its financial services, and PostNL helping SMEs with cash flow issues…

Brazil Post puts national address database online

Brazil’s Post and Telegraph Company (ECT/Correios) has made its National Directory of Addresses (e-DNE) available for purchase via the Internet.

Previously, access was provided only after the signing of a contract, and even then was only available physically on a CD-ROM. ECT said the data can now be purchased online and downloaded from its website. An online purchase also comes with a year’s worth of quarterly updates, also available as downloads.

ECT said its database contains information for zip codes in all localities that have more than 50,000 inhabitants, and for all delivery points that receive a significant amount of mail. The e-DNE is available in two levels, a Basic level and a more advanced Master option that makes it possible to produce mailing lists specific to various purposes including marketing and resource planning.

Swiss Post offers vote on carbon abatement projects

Swiss Post is offering its customers the chance to vote on which environmental project should receive funding from the company’s “Pro Clima” carbon neutral shipping service.

The company has offered carbon offsets on its letters, parcels and goods consignments since February 2009 for customers that pay a “Pro Clima” surcharge. This year, Switzerland’s national postal operator wants to invest collected surcharge fees in a clean energy project.

Pro Clima customers will have until January 31 to vote for support to go to a community biogas power project in Cambodia, an energy-efficient oven development in Ghana, a wind power project in Turkey or a project to make use of more biogas by Swiss Post itself in powering its delivery vehicles.

Uruguayan Post to offer home improvement loans

Post offices in Uruguay are set to start offering credit for customers to fund projects like home renovations from March 2012.

The offering is the second phase of a link-up between the Post and the Mortgage Bank of Uruguay, agreed last June, that allowed post office customers to open savings accounts at post offices. The next phase will allow homeowners to take out loans of up to $10,000 USD, to be repaid in a five-year term, with preferential interest rates for existing savings account holders.

The two organisations are currently hard at work setting up the payment infrastructure for the new service. In future, the partnership is hoping to open up the home loans programme for uses including the purchase of solar energy water heating systems, which can lower a home’s energy consumption by 30%.

PostNL launches invoice tool for small businesses

Dutch postal service PostNL has launched a new online tool to help small businesses improve their cash flows.

With nearly two in three small businesses facing clients that do not pay or pay late for goods or services, PostNL said its cash flow tool helps SMEs to calculate their cash flow based on income and invoice delay data, and offers advice on how to improve invoicing and cash flow. The new offering also highlights the PostNL services for SMEs related to billing, from printing and mailing to collecting unpaid invoices.

Carlos Mendes Aguiar, the SME Director at PostNL, said: “The cash flow tool helps SMEs create transparency in the collection process. A few simple changes are often all it takes to achieve positive results and free up cash.”

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