Email makes its mark felt on postal
By Matthew Vella
Privatisation has seen 160 Maltapost employees being passed through
to the revolving door back to the civil service. Email has definitely
had its mark felt on the international postal service.
Although figures were not available on the changes in the volume of
mail for Maltapost in the last two years, The Malta Financial and Business
Times spoke to business development manager Michael Stewart on the effects
of email on Maltapost.
"E-business has affected postal administrations all around the
world," Stewart says, "this is one of the reasons why Maltapost
is looking for alternative revenue sources and services."
Stewart says Maltapost is monitoring mail volumes to look for reasons
for increasing and decreasing volumes of mail throughout the year. According
to Stewart, Maltaposts volume in recent months has been unchanged,
"neither increasing, nor decreasing."
"The majority of mail is from businesses. This is something like
80 per cent of all mail. Invoices and business statements are usually
always sent by surface mail. People prefer to receive this sort of communication
Which is why it has been domestic mail to suffer the impact of email.
Email usage worldwide has supplanted most regional postal services.
In January 2001, 550 million emails were sent and received in British
homes according to internet measurement company NetValue. In the same
month, 258 million letters were handled by the Royal Mail in the same
period. In the United States, the US postal service delivers more than
600 million pieces of mail per day. A recent study claimed that the
number of pieces of electronic mail sent in 1999 outnumbered the postal
mail by as much as 1,000 to 1.
This is a real milestone for email, surpassing centuries of postal delivery
in just over a decade since the start of its usage on a mass scale.
This notwithstanding, a considerable amount of emails are used for internal
communication in offices, the exchange of jokes and other material which
would not normally happen when using surface mail.
In Malta, postal services benefited considerably from continuous exchange
between Malta and the hundreds of thousands of Maltese ex-pats in Australia,
which number more than the population in Malta, and other countries
such as Britain, Canada, America and parts of the Mediterranean.
Whereas surface mail and telephone calls were the primary means of communication
bridging ex-pats to the motherland, email today is the simplest and
quickest form of exchange, at no extra cost. The increase in sales of
digital cameras has allowed people to share family photos instantly
across large distances.