the daily news digest of the postal world since 1998


Competition from Amazon delivery vans hits Royal Mail revenue

250px-Royal_Mail.svgShares in Royal Mail today touched their lowest level since October’s privatisation as the postal giant delivered the gloomy news that revenues at its crucial parcel division are being stymied by strong competition from Amazon.

Royal Mail placed its parcels division at the centre of its growth plans in its £3 billion flotation, claiming it was “well-positioned to benefit further from predicted levels of growth in the overall UK parcel market” and telling would-be investors that between 2013 and 2016 online shopping parcel volumes would grow by as much as 6%.

But today the postal giant blamed Amazon’s introduction of its own delivery vans, as well as it cutting the minimum order required to qualify for free delivery, for parcel revenues falling 1% in the three months to July, despite volumes rising 1%.

Read more: Royal Mail warns over Amazon blow to parcels business – Business News – Business – London Evening Standard.


Billy Hayes, UK postal union president, addresses the APWU Convention

Text of the speech by Billy Hayes, President of the Communications Workers Union (UK):

Thank you for the invitation to address your convention. A special thank you to your new President, Mark Dimondstein, for his hospitality. I am sure he will measure up to the problems you face.

I understand that your biggest campaign at the moment is against the decision of the USPS to locate counter facilities in Staples stores.

In the UK we are very familiar with such moves. Management have been transferring Crown offices facilities to WH Smith – a private retailer.

It results in fewer services and poorer working conditions. So, good luck with your campaign. Read More


Royal Mail readies for battle with shareholders

Royal Mail will this week face a stormy shareholder protest when the company holds its first annual meeting since its controversial privatisation.

The 500-year-old company is likely to face questions about the £1.35m pay package awarded to the chief executive, Moya Greene, and its warning that the universal service obligation – the pledge to deliver to every address in the country for the same price six days a week – is under threat.

The company, which the government privatised in October 2013 at a £1bn loss to the taxpayer according to a committee of MPs, will hold its first annual meeting as a FTSE 100 firm in Birmingham on Thursday. It will also update the City on its latest financial performance, which has been worrying some analysts, in an interim management statement on Tuesday.

Read more: Royal Mail readies for battle with shareholders | Business | The Guardian.


Alibaba Teams Up With Brazilian Postal Service

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is cultivating is overseas customer base while preparing for its initial public offering in New York, which could be one of the largest initial public offerings in history.

For the past few months, Alibaba has been going around the world — France, Australia, Singapore and Italy to name a few–signing agreements with governments and logistics providers to attract more overseas merchants to its Chinese online marketplaces.

In the latest, Alibaba said Friday it will team up with Correios, Brazil’s state-owned postal services company, to help the country’s small businesses sell their products in China through Alibaba’s websites using its Alipay electronic payment system.

Read more: Alibaba Teams Up With Brazil Postal Service Firm – Digits – WSJ.


Video: Why there’s a cryptic puzzle in the post

As a hobby, it is esoteric and rather British: setting puzzles for postmen. For the past few years James Addison, 25, a graphic designer who lives in Poole, Dorset, has been sending letters to friends, family, and often himself. But instead of simply writing the address on the envelope, he has constructed a conundrum for his local Royal Mail sorting office to solve.

One address was written in morse code; one was a pencil sketch of the front of Addison’s office building, with the post code hidden in a street sign; one was constructed entirely as a sonnet.

Addison’s hobby has come to light after a video, shot by a friend, was published online. But while his pastime is eccentric, what is even stranger is that the employees of Royal Mail, grappling with cost cutting, appear not to resent his activities. Indeed, they seem to relish the challenge.

Read more: Why there’s a cryptic puzzle in the post – Telegraph.


London Assembly call on Mayor to protect universal postal service

London Assembly call on Mayor to protect universal postal service

The London Assembly passed a motion today (Wednesday) calling for Boris Johnson, Mayor of London to support the Communication Workers Union (CWU) campaign to protect the universal postal service and lobby the government to bring Royal Mail back into public ownership. Read More


Royal Mail faces anti-competition investigation in France

Royal Mail has warned it faces a potentially hefty fine from French competition authorities, which are investigating possible anti-trust violations at the group’s parcel-delivery subsidiary.

Shares in the postal service, which is 30% state-owned following a controversial privatisation last year, were among the biggest fallers on the FTSE 100, down 1.8% to 475p. They were floated at 330p but at one point climbed above 600p.

The group said French competition authorities were investigating breaches of anti-trust laws “in connection with a broader investigation into alleged activities within the industry in France”. Dutch postal company TNT Express and the US firm FedEx have also confirmed they are being investigated and face possible fines.

Read more: Royal Mail faces anti-competition investigation in France | UK news |


The smoking gun… Harper’s plan to privatize Canada Post

After repeated denials from the Conservative government that their service cuts and rate hikes at Canada Post have anything to do with privatization, we now know the opposite to be true. An access to information request by Blacklock’s Reporter reveals that the Prime Minister’s Office conducted a secret study into privatization only months before Canada Post announced their five-point plan to cut services, jobs and increase prices. It would appear the government has deliberately misled the public.

Read more: The smoking gun… Harper's plan to privatize Canada Post |


Royal Mail celebrates Tour De France Grand Départ Yorkshire with special postmark

  • Royal Mail is to issue a special postmark to mark the Tour De France Grand Départ which begins in Yorkshire this Saturday (July 5th)
  • The postmark will be printed on mail that is delivered across the UK on Saturday. It will say ‘Yorkshire Grand Départ Tour De France 2014’.
  • It will be the first time the Tour has visited the UK since 2007

Royal Mail is gearing up for the Tour De France Grand Départ starting in Yorkshire this Saturday (July 5th) by issuing a special postmark.

On Saturday, postmen and women across the UK will deliver mail that will have the Tour De France postmark emblazoned across it.

The postmark will say ‘Yorkshire Grand Départ, Tour De France, 2014’.

Royal Mail’s postmarks are reserved for special occasions and are used to recognise significant events, historical anniversaries or support of charity.

Stephen Agar from Royal Mail said: “We’re delighted to be marking the Tour De France Grand Départ with one of our postmarks.

“It’ll be a very special moment to see this iconic sporting event begin in the UK in Yorkshire and we’re pleased to mark the occasion in this unique way.”

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, commented: “This celebration of the Yorkshire‎ Grand Départ by Royal Mail is testament to the scale of this historic event coming to our county and indeed the country.

“Excitement is reaching fever pitch for millions in Yorkshire and beyond – and we’re delighted the Tour’s arrival is being celebrated in this way.”

About the Tour De France Grand Départ

This will be the first time the Tour De France has visited the UK since 2007. It has also been held in the UK in 1974 and 1994..

The first stage of the will begin in Leeds on Saturday. It will see the competing teams race to Harrogate, whilst taking in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales on the way.

The second stage will see the team cycle from York to Sheffield on Sunday, while the third stage on Monday will see a route from Cambridge to London.


Bedfordshire postman Stephen Dillingham pleads guilty to mail theft after more than 1,500 parcels are found in his loft

A FORMER postman has admitted stashing more than 1,500 stolen parcels in his loft for eight years.

Stephen Dillingham, who worked as a postman in Bedfordshire between 1998 and 2009, took the packets sometime between 2006 and when he left the company but it wasn’t until February this year that his hoarding habit was discovered.

Vicky Dillingham, the defendant’s estranged wife, was clearing out the loft in the home they previously shared on February 18 when she found a stack of parcels.

Read more: Bedfordshire postman Stephen Dillingham pleads guilty to mail theft after more than 1,500 parcels are found in his loft | Bedfordshire News, News Headlines in Bedford | Bedfordshire Newspaper Online | Bedfordshire on Sunday.