The volume of mail sent within Estonia is at about 25% its figure for 2007, according to national mail carrier Eesti Post/Omniva. At the same time, its makeup has changed as parcel delivery grows, due mainly to online shopping.
The fall, from around 60 million units of mail in 2007 to 15 million in 2018, is mostly the result of invoices moving online and to other solutions, according to Eesti Post/Omniva CEO Ansi Arumeel, as reported in local daily Virumaa Teataja, and has led to losses of around €20 million per year, he said.
On average, Estonian residents received a total of 14 pieces of mail throughout 2018, the bulk of which were invoices, formal notifications etc.
Conversely, the carrier's share in parcel delivery has increased, partly due to online purchasing, Mr Arumeel went on, to the extent that it is effectively propping up the company's traditional delivery operations.
Eesti Post/Omniva installed over 100 new parcel machines across Estonia last year, it says, with more to come this year, though parcel delivery constitutes a large part of manual post office work too.
Sõmeru post office in Lääne-Viru County, for instance, conducts 316 transactions per month, the vast majority of which involve a parcel of some shape or form, according to Virumaa Teataja.
Mr Arumeel denied rumors that Omniva is planning to cut the number of days of home delivery to five from the present six peras a cost-saving exercise. Home delivery on Saturdays will remain, since the state has allocated the required funds, he said. A report just a few days ago on 24 January had stated Eesti Post/Omiva were considering the move, something opposed by the two major print newspaper publishers in Estonia, Eesti Meedia and Ekspress Meedia.
A five-day week would make the production of Saturday papers uneconomical, the companies had argued, and would hit rural areas particularly hard.
According to the Estonian tax authorities, traditional mail has also been increasingly used for the delivery of illegal drugs.
Editor: Andrew Whyte