Almost 380 billion letters are sent every year and air mail plays an essential role in their delivery, according to the International Air Transport Association. Since 1911, the Designated Postal Operators (DO’s) of the world have counted on the airlines to provide fast and reliable services for their mail products. Naturally airlines are also keen to keep an activity that represents a solid 10% of their cargo business.
The future of air freight came under the microscope recently at the IATA’s latest World Cargo Symposium where there were calls for a cut in transit times of up to 48 hours to match the premium pricing that customers pay to ship by air.
Speed is not the only factor though when looking at air transport: the many benefits of using air for mail and the delivery of time-sensitive documents – such as invoices, financial statements and bills – include reliability and security.
And in terms of transit times, most global postal companies and shippers, including Landmark Global, already offer a range of services to fit every need, from premium, guaranteed delivery times to economy services for less time-sensitive mail.
The European Shippers’ Council’s white paper “Airfreight 2020 and Beyond”, published in April 2014, found that shippers want to see the traditional airfreight industry evolve into a more reliable, transparent and door-to-door seamless logistics solution. Accurate information, for example on the reliability, costs and performance, is key to achieving this goal, according to the ESC.
Another initiative designed to improve and speed up the movement of mail and documents by air has come from the International Post Corporation which has launched its Future of Mail by Air initiative. This brings together 18 postal operators and 26 air carriers working to move from paper delivery bills to electronic messaging-based transportation, leading to an increased efficiency and considerable time-gain.
A digital future
Looking to the future, air cargo experts point to the increasing electronic transmission of documents, which has reduced the need to ship many items of this type.
As a result of this rising global trend, many international postal operators are now offering “hybrid” services – receiving documents digitally and then printing and delivering them close to the customer.
John Callan, Co-founder and Managing Director of postal-parcel-logistics strategy consultancy, Ursa Major Associates and Founder and Chairman of The PostalVision 2020 Initiative, said: ” As every communications product begins its commercial life in a digital state as it is, its supplier will simply leapfrog the front-end production and transportation of the delivery task by transmitting the product’s digital data to a print production and delivery facility near the final destination. Global ‘distributed print’ and ‘hybrid mail’ operations that provide services like these are growing in size and number.”
As we have learned, the future for mail and documents transportation via air continues to look promising. If you want to be part of the success story, and you are looking for a safeguard solution for your international business mail, contact our team.