October 9 was declared World Post Day at a Universal Postal Union Congress in 1969. It was designated as an international day of commemoration as the UPU is an agency of the United Nations.
Do you wonder why the celebration of postal services is still relevant in 2018? Or how it can contribute to SDG 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth? Well, after reading this, you won’t anymore!
Do you value our ability to send letters and packages all over the globe? It has not always been so easy to connect with our loved ones, nor order new shoes, books, or other creature comforts online, much less offline.
UPU was inaugurated in the 19th century to establish a global communication platform. It sparked a revolution for the industry which was facilitating the essential need of humans to communicate with each other. This need to connect in a written way has been part of our social fabric for ages.
Traditionally, people were sending letters or pieces of information to each other with birds like pigeons or with the support of animals like the five-horse-riding Csikós of Hungary, or with human runners. Nonetheless, the establishment of a global communication platform was why the first national postage systems started to blossom in many countries around the 17th century. Before then, postal services were a privilege of the few. With them, the opportunity to connect with folk located in other locations became a privilege of the many.
By the end of the 1800s, there was already a global postal service. All the same, it was quite slow and complicated to send letters across continents. That is why UPU was established to make these processes faster and more effective(1).
Benefits to Our Economy
What are the main economic numbers supporting worldwide postal services?
If we had assumed that the post’s market share had slid due to the appearance of new competitors and the drastic shift towards digitalisation, these statistics would convince us otherwise. We can see that in the letters market, the Post is the absolute market share winner. Regarding other delivery items, it seems that in volume, the Post had managed to gain a share of their competitors market share between 2005 and 2015. These inclinations are telling us the real face of the postal industry today.
How about the entire market? What value are we talking about globally when we have a look at these kinds of services?
- “the size of the world letter post-market reached about $320 billion in 2015 (…) World Expedited and Package Market (~$260 Billion)(2).”
- “Therefore, by 2018, we expect the volume market for cross-border letter post to stabilise around the 4 billion pieces mark, and even possibly grow over this figure under favourable circumstances, while the international parcels and express services volume (under 5 kg) would increase to about 0.7 billion items or more(2).”
It is clear that this enormous generation of revenue must have had a substantial impact on other parts of our lives. An average person doesn’t typically wonder about his/her local post office and consider the economic benefits it brought to his/her everyday life. If you were aware of them, would you bother acting differently today?
Let’s recognise the incredible impacts that post offices have on our communities:
- Employment – globally employ nearly 6 million people. From the 1980s till 2011, they had some ups and downs but still, the industry is highly labour intensive, and it continues to handle more and more orders. The postal service has an extensive human infrastructure, and it continues to remain likewise(3).
- Administration – the Post provides an essential platform for many economic activates to happen, such as our need for original copies of invoices, invitation letters, proofs of accommodation for visa applications, sending our ID cards/passports after us when they’re ready… There are many ways we use postal services in all aspects of society.
- Products – manufacturers of letters, envelopes and packaging materials are on the rise. Just think about further indirect effects of postal services: “The global industrial packaging market is set to see considerable growth in the coming years. Forecasts predict that this growth will be particularly strong up to 2022. In the UK alone, the sector already employs more than 80,000 staff and has a turnover in excess of £11 billion annually, making it a significant contributor to UK GDP and the UK supply chain(4).”
- Customer to Customer – Such as eBay, Gumtree, Alibaba…, the list can go on forever as home delivery services are on the rise to facilitate our modern lives.
- Business to Customer – International e-commerce corporations (like Amazon) have shown rapid growth. Also, retailers and supermarkets have jumped on the bandwagon and embraced e-commerce with non-traditional extensions to their local stores.
- Business to Business – the manufacturing industry was transformed by globalisation some time ago. For example, vehicle parts have travelled from one continent to another to assemble vehicles in an assembly plant elsewhere for some time now.Politics – postal services are used in many ways in politics, too. Let me highlight one example: ensuring your right to vote at a nearby embassy as voting papers may be posted to your home address when you are away from home.
- Media – home-delivered printed media is still an essential part of everyday information transfers.
Also, consider that postal services have been influenced by changes in trends regarding consumer needs for re-usable materials or more waste-wise purchases. Therefore they indirectly further affect other industries, too.
Besides all these points mentioned, what about their contribution to a sustainable global future?
“E-commerce dynamics, like postal services, are uneven throughout the world. For example, the e-commerce revolution in Asia did not occur as dramatically in Africa, Arab countries or Latin America, where an extraordinary catch-up process could occur in the coming years(2).”
Imagine how these developing regions could benefit from the ripple effect of a booming of the letter and package postal market with the influence of the areas mentioned above and beyond.
Surely now, you are partial to re-consider the relevance of postal services globally?
Let’s celebrate together the phenomenal success of this global phenomenon, our ability to mail words and objects worldwide helping partner people and planet—ideally in an ecologically friendly way—for noble ideals like peace and prosperity!
You Can Always Act:
- Initiate conversations about the importance of extending postal services and how they can contribute to sustainable development in developing countries
- Make a stand for Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG#8) by volunteering at aiesec.org
- Sponsor and encourage someone close to you—like a cousin, child, niece, or nephew—to act upon the Global Goals by volunteering abroad at aiesec.org
- Find AIESEC entities which are located all over the world and reach out with advice, an offer to collaborate, or provide financial support.
Admittedly, AIESEC initiatives have barely any resources to make things happen—it is a real struggle—I was the Marketing Director in Benin for the 2015-16 term. For more information about my predicament there, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(3) http://www.upu.int/uploads/tx_sbdownloader/publicationTrendsDevelopmentStrategiesForThePostalSectorEn.pdf (page 34)
Article was written by Krisztina Kapuvári (findyourownlight) and originally posted on 9th October 2018 on Alumnet of AIESEC Alumni International – the platform available only for registered AIESEC alumnus.
Reposted on “whatareyoustillwaitingfor” blog, available for public.
THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED BY THE AUTHOR AND THOSE PROVIDING COMMENTS ARE THEIRS ALONE AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF AAI.
Original Article Rights:
- Drafted by Kriszti@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
- Illustrated by Kriszti@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
- Edited by Lee@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
- Published by Lee@whatareyoustillwaitingfor.space
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