Overview of the Postal and Courier Services Sector in the Region: Definition Scop E and Coverage of the Sector

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CONCEPT PAPER - POSTAL AND COURIER SERVICES WITHIN THE CARICOM SINGLE MARKET AND ECONOMY (CSME) 1. Overview of The Postal and Courier Services Sector in

the Region: Definition Scope and Coverage of the Sector. 1.1 The Postal Industry Posts are part of a region’s overhead capital and networks of transportation. Settlements and communications mediate exchange of goods, information and money between firms and consumers. In addition, they support inter-firm communications and social communication.

Firms

Goods (Parcels)

Households

Communication
Households

Payment (Funds)

Flows
Information Payment Goods

Activity
Sell Response Fulfill

Platforms
Letters Counters Packages

Figure 1.1 Postal and Courier infrastructure services provide essential two-way links that bring buyers and sellers together, forge markets, build relationships, act as a distribution channel and collector of revenue, facilitate and complete transactions and fulfill demand or orders.(Figure 1.1)

1

The Caribbean region comprises 21 Universal Postal Union (UPU)1 member countries. Within this grouping are three countries on the Central and South American mainland. The regional organization which brings together the majority of these States is CARICOM. There is also a regional organization which facilitates the work of the postal sector it is the Caribbean Postal Union (CPU).

1.2 The Courier and Express Mail Services (The Packets Market) The Courier and Express Service are operationally distinct from the traditional postal services, geared to a higher level of speed and reliability. The essence of Courier services lie in the seamless and efficient coordination of collection, transportation and the delivery of items. They have explored and developed a niche for urgent exchange of physical communications, making it into a billion dollar global business. Postal and Courier services can be categorized as communications and logistic service.

1.3 Situational Analysis
Overview
The Postal service forms part of the daily life of people all over the world. Even in the digital and electronic age the Post remains for millions of people, the most accessible means of communication and message delivery available. The Postal services of the UPU’s one hundred and ninety-one (191) member countries form the largest physical distribution network in the world. More than five million Postal employees, working in over 660,000 Postal outlets, ensure that some 430 billion mail items are processed and delivered each year to every corner of the world.

1

The Universal Postal Union is the United Nations specialized agency which regulates the Postal Sector

2

During the past fifteen years, a wide variety of forces caused Postal services to re-think their role in the communications market. The combined effects of direct and indirect competition, privatisation of Postal services especially in Industrialized countries, the separation of the Operator and Regulator function,2 liberalisation, customer demands for better and more reliable products, and the advent of new communications technologies, convinced Postal services that they should modify their operational and financial strategies in order to remain competitive. As markets were liberalized, Postal services became more vulnerable. At the same time opportunities were afforded to exploit new markets by taking advantage of the development of International trade. Posts worldwide were therefore influenced to reform by: The emergence of the private sector as a dominant force in the transportation and communications sector, Lobbying groups established by private Couriers which, though claiming that a level playing field was needed, were actively pushing to reduce the Postal monopoly, The orientation of financial and development agencies like the World Bank and the IMF, which under financial assistance programmes are advocating less Government and more private initiatives for the sector. For the...
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