Canada Post moves further away from home delivery

A common theme is heard around the world from post offices – declining mail, rising costs, declining profits, increasing competition and rising parcel volumes – and are among the often cited issues that confront most post offices.

Canada Post is certainly no exception. It has noted that it delivered 1.2bn fewer pieces of mail in 2013 than it did in 2006. However, parcel volumes are on the rise thanks to 76% of Canadian households now shopping online.

Financially, the change in business has taken a toll on the post office. In 2012 it reported a C$136m loss. In 2013, there was some improvement but still another financial loss was reported, C$125m. However, in 2014, it reported a $194m profit. The profit was attributed to a plan it had established to turn the postal service around.

As part of its plan, in 2013 and in a not very popular move, Canada Post announced it would end all urban door-to-door mail service to 5m Canadians in five years because of financial losses incurred from declining mail volume. In its place, Canadians will pick up their mail and parcels at community mailboxes, which will be established in neighborhoods across the nation.

Its latest solution offering is what some see as another means to further discourage home delivery, others see it as a sign of the times and similar to what other post offices around the world offer – FlexDelivery. Through this new service, customers can direct parcels to go to any of Canada Post’s 6,000 outlets for pick up.

To use the service, customers sign up on the Canada Post website and choose the post office where they want to pick up their parcels. When shopping online, the customer will then use the post office address as the delivery instead of their home address. Once the online order is delivered to the post office, the customer will receive an email notification.

The new service will likely help the postal service contain some of its costs. According to the post office, about one third of households have no one at home when Canada Post tries to deliver a parcel. This results in the package being routed to the nearest post office. For customers, the service should provide a flexible alternative location for delivery of parcels.