State-owned postal service Eesti Post/Omniva posted record turnover and profits for 2020.
While Eesti Post made a loss in 2019, and has been experiencing falling postal custom for over a decade, the year of the pandemic saw it move into the black, to the tune of €9.6 million, while turnover saw a nearly 50-percent rise to €135.6 million.
"While the company ended 2019 with a loss and the difficult financial situation continued into the following year, 2020 was characterized by finding greater efficiency in operations and launching a strategic change to achieve this," Eesti Post boar member Charlie Viikberg told ERR.
This strategic change entailed combining postal and parcel services to get better scaling in the company's logistics activities, Viikberg said.
The company also reviewed its quality control, to base this on actual service availability, he added.
The arrival of the pandemic led to a surge in service use, particularly involving e-commerce for products that would have previously been bought in-store.
"The year started very difficult due to liquidity difficulties, but quickly launched internal efficiency projects, austerity measures and significant growth in e-commerce due to the COVID-19 pandemic had an impact, and the company's turnover increased by 41 percent compared to 2019," Viikberg went on.
Eesti Post's Ominva brand primarily focuses on postal, logistics and e-invoiving services.
Eesti Post has other subsidiaries in all three Baltic States, employing around 2,300 people.
The strong year should sustain the company going forward, Viikberg added.
"We see the future of the company as a unified service provider in parcel, letter and newspaper delivery," he said.
"While the number of letters fell from 30 million, to two million, over ten years, the number of parcels has grown to 25 million over the same period, and the delivery of letters using the same network as parcels ensures the most logistically reasonable solution and cost-effectiveness," Viikberg went on.
EU customs regulations implemented in the middle of the year will also have an impact on the volume of international shipments, however, and compared with the extraordinary year of 2020, turnover and profit are likely to be somewhat lower in 2021, Viikberg said.
Nonetheless Eesti Post will also expand its vending machine network – also a pandemic-friendly aspect – to settlements with 700 or more people (the threshold had previously been 900 inhabitants or more – ed.), while vending machines will also be installed in Latvia and Lithuania, the company says.
Editor: Andrew Whyte