Omniva chairman: Estonians increasingly sending packages, not letters

According to the chairman of Omniva, the parent company of Estonia's postal service, mailing of letters has decreased four times over the past decade, while the number of packages sent has doubled in just four years alone. (Urmas Luik/Pärnu Postimees)
5/16/2016 2:00 PM
Category: Business

According to Omniva Chairman of the Board Aavo Kärmas, Estonians are sending more and more packages and fewer and fewer letters, and updates are needed to the country's Postal Act, which has remained unchanged for the past ten years.

Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications Kristen Michal has shared for discussion his plan for developing changes to Estonia’s Postal Act. Aavo Kärmas explained on ETV’s morning broadcast “Terevisioon” that in the past ten years, people have sent four times fewer letters, while the past four years alone has seen a twofold increase in the number of packages sent.

The chairman of Estonia’s national postal service noted, however, that despite such changes, the country’s postal network requirements have remained unchanged for the past ten years. “Demand has changed a great deal,” he explained. “Really, the postal network should be adapted to the package business and not so much letters, as has historically been the case.”

For Omniva, he said, this would mean a greater shift from post offices to smaller postal stations as well as the installation of additional self-service parcel terminals in smaller population centers. He noted that those living in more remote areas of the countryside could continue to utilize various offered services via mailmen.

According to Kärmas, Omniva delivered 16 million letters last year, of which most were bills. Private correspondence accounted for 2 million of the year’s letters, of which half were sent during the Christmas season.

“Last year’s volume of packages sent via parcel terminal grew by nearly 60 percent, which is mainly influenced by the fact that people are shopping online,” he added.

Postal stations: not a bad alternative to traditional post offices

There are currently 177 post offices and 156 postal stations across Estonia. According to the Omniva chairman, the organization’s shift toward postal stations has improved accessibility to postal services in the country’s rural regions.

“Many of our postal stations are open until 8 p.m. six to seven days a week,” noted Kärmas. He noted that out of 19 postal stations opened this year, 14 have seen an increase in the overall volume of services compared to the post offices whose locations they replaced.

Omniva, whose name was adopted in June 2014, replacing the previous name of Eesti Post, is Estonia’s biggest international postal and logistics company. The company has retained the name Eesti Post for the division of the company responsible for Estonia’s national postal service.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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