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Incident bulletin 13th March 2020

Incident bulletins are sent weekly with information about situations that affect postal distribution.

This week’s bulletin contains updates about: France, Finland, Indonesia, Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, Egypt, Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Cape Verde, Congo, Djibouti, Ireland, Mauritius, Norway, Venezuela, Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, Japan, Malta, Mongolia, UAE, Italy, USA, Morocco, Bulgaria, Romania.

 

France

Start date: November 2019
End date: 11th March

La Poste informs that the national strike affecting many sectors in France has ended, and all postal services are back to normal (other than the acceptance of mails for China (People’s Rep.).

Finland

Start date: 31st January

The designated operator of FINLAND, Posti Ltd, would like to inform the designated operators of Union member countries that it has introduced a customs clearance fee for postal items containing goods that have attracted customs charges, in accordance with article 20 of the Convention. This “handling fee for items requiring customs clearance” of 2.90 EUR per individual item will be paid by the addressee of postal items that are taxed by Finnish Customs. The charge, which came into effect on 31 January 2020, applies to goods requiring customs clearance with a value exceeding 22 EUR that arrive from outside the European Union, or from special areas of the EU’s excise duty and value-added taxation area.

Indonesia – back to normal

Start date: 30th January
End date: 9th March

Pos Indonesia would like to inform that the customs clearance process for inbound mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) containing goods returned to normal on 9 March 2020.

Resumption and suspension of mail exchanges – update

Korea

Start date: 28th February
End date: 2nd March

With Hong Kong

Korea Post informs other Union member countries and their designated operators that it resumed mail exchanges with Hong Kong, China on 2 March 2020. Delays are, however, to be expected, as only a limited number of flights are available.

With Australia

Partially suspended mail exchanges with Australia with effect from 9 March 2020. This measure concerns all mail products (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) except for parcel-post and EMS items destined to the international mail processing centre in Melbourne (AUMELA).

With Egypt

Fully suspended mail exchanges (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) with Egypt with effect from 10 March 2020.

Processing of all outbound mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) to Algeria, Angola, Bahrain, Bulgaria (Rep.), Cape Verde, Congo (Rep.), Djibouti, Ireland, Mauritius, Morocco, Norway and Venezuela has been suspended until further notice.

Processing of all outbound mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) to Brunei Darussalam and Myanmar has been suspended from 12 March 2020 until further notice.

New Zealand

Start date: 17th February
End date: 9th March

New Zealand Post would like to inform other Union member countries and their designated operators that services for all outbound mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) destined for China (People’s Rep.) are now restored.

New Zealand Post has recommenced the acceptance of letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items, provided that the value of the items being shipped to China does not exceed 1,000 New Zealand dollars (NZD).

New Zealand Post has continued to clear the backlog at its office of exchange and to use the available transport capacity to move all the UPU products destined for China.

Saudi Arabia

Start date: 13th March
End date: Ongoing

Saudi Post informs that, in accordance with the measures taken to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the requirements of the government of Saudi Arabia, all letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items requiring signature on delivery will, for security reasons, provisionally be delivered to customers indirectly. Consequently, it will not be mandatory for Saudi Post to provide written proof of delivery and the delivery will be based on a code sent to the addressee’s mobile phone.

Ecuador

Start date: 13th March
End date: Ongoing

Correos del Ecuador informs that, owing to the suspension until further notice of partner airline flights to Italy, it is currently unable to send letter-post, parcel-post or EMS items to that country.

Correos del Ecuador is, therefore, declaring a situation of force majeure and ceasing, with immediate effect, to accept letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items destined for Italy, until sufficient transport capacity becomes available.

Japan

Start date: 13th March
End date: Ongoing

Japan Post would like to inform that, because of a significant decline in transport performance resulting from restrictions to flights to and from China (People’s Rep.) and other measures, acceptance of mail items destined for China is being temporarily suspended from 13 March 2020, with the exception of certain letter-post items as detailed below:

Temporarily suspended mail types:
–          EMS items;
–          Parcel post by air, S.A.L. and surface;
–          Letter post (small packets and printed matter) by air, S.A.L. and surface;
–          Letter post (letters, postcards and items for the blind) by surface.

Japan Post plans to dispatch to China as many as possible of the items currently backlogged in Japan by using the available flights, which are currently very limited in number and operating for limited routes only.

Until sufficient transport capacity becomes available, Japan Post will not provide transit for the above-mentioned items destined for China and Mongolia, for which Japan Post has suspended the acceptance of all outbound international mail items due to the cancellation of all flights from/to those countries.

It is, however, continuing to accept letter post (letters, postcards and items for the blind) by air.

Malta

Start date: 11th March
End date: Ongoing

MaltaPost would like to inform that, owing to the suspension of outbound flights to France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, it is currently unable to send mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) to these countries using air transport.

MaltaPost is therefore declaring a situation of force majeure with regard to the affected countries and will strive to find alternative means to convey its outbound mail. However, there may be significant delays in the meantime.

Mongolia

Start date: 11th March
End date: 1st April

Mongol Post informs that the first case of COVID-19 infection has now been recorded in Mongolia.

To help prevent the virus from spreading, all international flights to and from Ulaanbaatar are suspended from 11 to 30 March 2020, and domestic routes are closed from 10 to 16 March 2020. These periods may be extended.

Mongol Post is temporarily closing its international mail centre (MNULNA) from 15 March to 1 April 2020.

United Arab Emirates

Start date: 13th February
End date: 11th March

The United Arab Emirates, Emirates Post Group Company, would like to inform that, with effect from 11 March 2020, Emirates Post resume the sending of mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) to China.

Italy

Start date: 24th February
Expected end date: 3rd April

Poste Italiane wishes to inform other designated operators that, owing to measures taken by the Italian government since Tuesday, 10 March 2020 to reduce the risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the entire Italian territory has become a “yellow zone” that is subject to a number of extraordinary measures, effective until 3 April or a later date that may be communicated in due course.

As per the Decree by the President of the Council of Ministers dated 9 March 2020 (in Italian), people should stay at home, minimize their social contact and limit their movements within Italy. Travel is currently authorized within Italy only for important reasons, such as health or work. Therefore, Poste Italiane can pursue its activities only in compliance with strict ad hoc measures in line with government directives. In order to ensure that human contact is minimized, so as to preserve personal safety, it is deemed necessary to significantly reduce the workforce deployed in the logistics chain, with regard to both sorting and delivery. This will have a major impact on operations and, consequently, on quality of service for all types of inbound and outbound mail (letter post, parcels and EMS). This is expected to last until the end of the COVID-19 epidemic, which it is hoped will be by 3 April. For this reason, as indicated to the National Regulatory Authority, service delivery standards cannot be guaranteed and a situation of force majeure has been declared until the situation returns to normal.

Poste Italiane, Italy’s top employer and a key element in the country’s economy, is fully committed to playing its part in helping Italy to overcome this major challenge. A dedicated committee, involving all senior management, has been working around the clock for a number of weeks, in close contact with the relevant institutional bodies, to define and continuously adapt directives and provisions in compliance with the government-mandated precautionary measures intended to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Although Poste Italiane is fully committed to keeping its international mail processing centres, domestic sorting centres and delivery network open and operational, a number of special provisions are being implemented in the wider national interest, in order to protect employees, citizens and customers.

Consequently, restrictions are in place for registered items subject to signature upon delivery. In order to avoid human contact, parcels and registered and insured items that would ordinarily require the addressee’s signature can, with the addressee’s consent, be deposited in the addressee’s mailbox or in a secure location on their premises, with signature by the postman/woman on their portable devices. This special provision ensures that there is no physical contact between Poste Italiane staff and customers. Alternatively, if the addressee is absent or wishes to collect the item from a post office, a special notice of delivery will be left in their mailbox, with instructions for access to the post office. Of course, access to post offices is also subject to restrictions and special conditions, so as to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and protect Poste Italiane staff and customers. For the same reasons, any cash-on-delivery items will be available at post offices and the addressee will be informed by means of a special note left in their mailbox. Moreover, with effect from Monday, 16 March, Poste Italiane will be unable to accept “PostaTarget” commercial mail from direct entry channels. No other changes to service modalities are currently in place.

A special sanitation plan, covering the entire post office network, postal premises and fleet of vehicles, has been in place for several weeks and will continue until the end of this epidemic. This entails the exceptional closure, for a few days, of the premises subject to this measure, which results in delivery delays. Personal safety equipment is also being provided throughout our retail and logistic networks so as to protect staff in their daily work, and special directives are in place to manage customers’ presence in post offices under safe conditions.

Airports remain open, although many airlines have cancelled their flights to Milan Linate and Malpensa. As a result, Poste Italiane has opted to divert outbound mail onto certain flights from Rome Fiumicino, asking the airlines to provide road transport solutions from Milan to Rome. Poste Italiane has been informed that similar solutions are also being offered to other partners for outbound traffic to Italy. Surface traffic is not restricted.

Poste Italiane is, of course, constantly monitoring the situation and will take prompt corrective action in response to any developments. It will also provide timely updates in the dedicated section of its website, available at https://www.poste.it/emergenza-covid19.html. The provisions set out above will remain in effect until further notice.

Technical problems

United States

Start date: 10th March
End date: 10th March

USPS migrated its international electronic data interchange (EDI) translator to a new system on 10 March 2020, at 21:00 UTC-4, for both inbound and outbound messages. The operation should have last for 90 to 120 minutes.

Morocco

Start date: 10th March
End date: Ongoing

Poste Maroc wishes to inform other Union member countries and their designated operators that it is experiencing technical problems with the replication of electronic data for parcel-post and EMS items from its domestic IT system to IPS. Transmission of data to the POST*Net network is therefore disrupted at the moment.

Bulgaria

Start date: 13th March
End date: Ongoing

Bulgarian Posts informs other Union member countries and their designated operators that, on 13 March 2020, it will launch the software upgrade procedure for the migration from IPS (International Postal System) to IPS v2019.

Every effort will be made to resume the transmission of events as rapidly as possible.

Bulgarian Posts thanks all Union member countries and their designated operators for their understanding and will inform once the situation has returned to normal.

Romania

Start date: 19th February
End date: 12th March

Poșta Română, would like to inform other Union member countries and their designated operators that the migration to the 2018 version of IPS (International Postal System) has ended and the transmission of EDI messages has returned to normal.

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