Lithuanians to send physical mail from their computers

Lithuanian Post has launched a new hybrid mail service, to allow its customers to send physical letters directly from their desktops. The largest postal operator in the Baltic Republics is making use of hybrid mail software provided by Dutch company BlueMailCentral.

Lithuanian Post said it would mean letters being sent more quickly and easily by its customers.

The service requires users to download a software application onto their computers, which can then be used with any existing text editor before being “printed” to BlueMail. The letter is sent electronically to Lithuanian Post to be printed onto A4-size sheets before being dropped into the mail network.

Production for the physical side of the service will be carried out by Lithuanian Post for domestic deliveries, but letters can also be sent internationally, to be printed locally by BlueMail’s network of printing partners in 45 different countries.

Vidas Danielius, head of business development at Lithuanian Post, said the new service would help his company expand its market position and cut costs.

He said: “The main reason for this hybrid mail solution is that Lithuanian Post customers will reduce costs and time. We want our customers to send their letters via the software instead of bringing it to the mailbox. This also reduces a lot of transportation costs for us.”

Postage for the hybrid mail service will depend on the number of pages sent, which can be sent double-sided, and whether colour or monochrome printing is required. With mayment by credit card or PayPal, the service starts at 1.69 litas per letter ($0.64 USD).

BlueMailCentral

The Lithuanian Post contract is the first that hybrid mail specialist BlueMailCentral has agreed with a national postal operator. It is also the beginning of a new strategy of licensing out the hybrid mail software for a client to carry out printing and mailing itself, rather than making use of BlueMailCentral’s network of printing facilities.

Colin de Vries, the BlueMailCentral managing director, told Post&Parcel today that there were plans to develop the Lithuanian Post service to expand its offering of added-value services.

There are ambitions to potentially develop an unlimited online archive, money transfer facilities, secure document mailing and registered mail, as well as expanding the range of postal service classes for hybrid letters, which are currently all sent via the Priority Mail service.

BlueMailCentral, which was founded in 2008 and has its head office in Middelburg, Holland, currently has around 4,000 paying customers using its software, which is available in seven languages.

The company, which emphasises the user-friendliness of its system in competing within the hybrid mail market, is planning a Mac version of its software as well as a slimmed down online version.

As well as looking to expand the number of postal companies using its hybrid mail solution, the company is also responding to a surge of demand from the sector for the licensing of its software by postal organisations keen to carry out production themselves, rather than using only the BlueMailCentral global printing network.

“This is actually the first contract in place with a postal operator, but we are currently in negotiations with four additional postal companies,” de Vries said of the Lithuanian contract.

“Up till now we have serviced our own hybrid mail network across the globe, but last year we had enquiries of postal companies who wanted to license the software.

“One of the organisations we have spoken to is the African Postal Union,” de Vries said, although he added that such high-level projects would take time to develop.

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