UPU Adopts Five-Day Standard

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NEW ORLEANS - The Universal Postal Union's 190 member countries adopted a five-business day international standard for priority letters at their recent 23rd Universal Postal Congress in Bucharest, Romania. UPU director general Thomas E. Leavey delivered the news in a speech yesterday at the DMA's 87th Annual Conference and Exhibition here.


The UPU, based in Berne, Switzerland, is a United Nations specialized agency that regulates international postal services.


"Some posts have national delivery standards, others have regional standards, but there has never been a standard for international mail," Leavey said. "This is unprecedented and a sign of the postal industry's commitment to serve customers better and faster."


Posts are being asked to meet the five-day standard 50 percent of the time, but Leavey explained that the objective is to reach 65 percent by 2008.


"Fifty percent may not seem challenging for industrialized countries, but it is for developing countries, especially those that have few international airline links and a poor postal infrastructure, "Leavey said. "Nonetheless, I'm convinced posts globally can achieve good results."


A UPU evaluation which occurred from July 1 to Sept. 30 revealed that 63.4 percent of test letters sent worldwide arrived at their destination within five working days. Letters sent wwithin the UPU region of America and the Caribbean were delivered within the standard 67 percent of the time, while letters traveling to the regions of Asia and Pacific or Europe and North Asia met the standard 51 percent and 44 percent of the time, respectively.


Leavey also covered a revised terminal dues system adopted in Bucharest. Terminal dues are the payment member countries receive for processing incoming international mail. The revised system will increase rates countries pay each other for the reciprocal processing of mail by 8.75 percent for developing countries and about 13 percent over a four-year period for industrialized ones - making the system more reflective of actual processing costs.


Leavey said national postal services may decide to revise or increase their rates as a result of the new system that will take effect on Jan. 1, 2006.


Leavey also said the UPU is working with posts worldwide to develop direct mail.


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