Facebook Conversation Today
A friend posted this:
Can anyone tell me why shipping of small parcel/packages to Australia has been discontinued by all our shipping services? Only express mail ( the expensive version) is an option now. Before small packages for 16 Euro up to 1 Kilo were possible. But as of yesterday it's almost 40 Euro for anything up to 1 kilo. It doesn't matter if DHL or UPS or the german post office, apparently there is no other option!
My comment on her post:
Not just Australia, not just parcels, but the entire postal service to EVERYWHERE outside the EU, including letters is again out of order!
Even if you pay premium for EMS, the running time and tracking is also screwed up. Absolutely nothing goes through. In June I had to resort to tricks to get my Canadian tax forms in on time, which can only be mailed. The trick was to send them as PDF to a Canadian friend, and he printed it out there and mailed it for me. I got parcels for my family in Canada sitting since April waiting for a "open window" to send. From Austria, you can't even send a simple letter or postcard! I imagine it is the same from Germany.
Most of my POD business is located in the US, which means NOTHING can be ordered.
On a Canadian friends wall I read that even delivery of goods within Canada is near impossible. His Ikea order cannot be delivered until late September, so he writes: "....... Only other option for me is to travel 159 km (318 km total) to pick it up myself at the store...."
Addendum: I have additional Information to add, since I posted this earlier today. You will find it as UPDATE at the end of this blog.
If interested, the Facebook post that started all this is posted public, and there are by now some interesting treads on it - CHECK IT OUT HERE:
To put this into context with the overall problems with shipping:
Covid-19 Forcing Shipping Industry into Crisis
CPC Consultants posted about this May 7, 2020
As the virus continues to spread, it remains immensely difficult to forecast the medium to long-term implications, yet the short-term consequences are clear: demand and freight rates are dropping and continue to drop as the uncertainty of Covid-19 is impossible to forecast. Demand is slowing from consumers that have resulted in reduced shipping requirements with all modes within the transportation industry. Simple, supply and demand drive the industry requirements.
The Covid-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on global shipping, which could initiate another crisis in what has been a struggling industry. To prevent the spread of the virus, a number of ports and shipping companies have implemented preventive measures leading to cancellation and delays which is causing severe disruptions within the industry. No surprise as most industries have implemented policy to protect the employees and customers.
About mail service
this had been posted February 13, 2020 in Transportation News, and it is still a topic up to this day:
Coronavirus Is Wreaking Havoc on Global Mail Delivery
Some critical documents, such as bills of lading and letters of indemnity, aren’t getting to mainland China, and ship owners are unwilling to release cargoes to their buyers without them, according to three traders in the physical copper market, who asked not to be named discussing commercial issues.
It’s another example of the challenge posed by the coronavirus in physical commodity markets and shows the problem of relying on hand-delivered paper documents in a complex, global supply chain.
Are there limitations in international postal services?
International postal services are currently available to a very limited extent only.
For some destinations, we are currently unable to accept letter mail items or parcels.
There is a link to the current exclusions about letter and parcel services which is constantly updated. I had downloaded these lists regularly, since they change frequently. There seem to be some short windows of opportunity for a few days, but then they close again. The bottom line is that services from Austria outside the EU are basically restricted to expensive EMS. Right now at this date of writing, the situation with the postal service seems to be worse than what it was back in April, at the height of the pandemic.
How is the situation in Canada?
Delivery Service Alerts
While currently I cannot send mail from Austria to Canada, it appears that the reverse is not tue - checking the link above, I find the following (quote from the text on the Canada Post site):
Date posted: July 10, 2020
International Destinations (excluding U.S.A.)
Postal services have been suspended to many international destinations at the request of the receiving Postal Operator or due to the lack of available transportation. The tables below indicate the following:
Service available: Canada Post is still accepting letters and parcels for these destinations. ** Indicates only partial service availability. See PDF list for details.
Suspended service: Canada Post no longer accepts any letters or parcels for these destinations.
For destinations where service is still available, expect significant and unpredictable delays of 7 to 14 days or more. Consumers and business shippers should consider the additional delivery time when making commitments to recipients. Delays are the result of both limited air transportation and changes in the way Postal Operators deliver. Like Canada Post, many international Postal Operators have introduced changes to eliminate customer interactions at the door and support social & physical distancing. These changes may delay delivery and signature will not be available on some items.
**Our goal is to continue providing timely and reliable service. But in light of the current challenges, we have suspended the Money-back Guarantee for XpresspostTM-International and PriorityTM Worldwide service until further notice.
To see the full list of destinations in PDF, click here.
Scrolling down I find that service to Austria is available!
So this seems to be a one-way street!
Conducting research, I found this informative site:
The postal world can experience disruptions that prevent mail from traveling on some international routes. On this page you can find mail suspensions that we are aware of.
You need to check this out, there is a long list with menus for each country.
SAME DAY UPDATE REGARDING THE POST SERVICE IN AUSTRIA :
At the top of this blog I mentioned mail to Canada, and my trick to send PDF to a friend there who then mailed it for me within Canada. It was a last-ditch attempt to get my tax papers in on time. This did happen in June, but unsuccessful mail per EMS happened already in May. To this day, the "official" tracking is stuck at "Handing over to Postpartner". Inquiring with Austria Post on their Facebook page I got an answer that I could not get through their official channels, even after several emails. My EMS mail was eventually delivered after a more than 3 weeks delay. Apparently the Postpartner was DHL, and the person who handled my Facebook query found the DHL tracking that somehow does not show on the Austria Post website.
On May 20th I posted a blog on the Hive Blockchain about this ordeal (at that time, the issue was not yet resolved) - it was posted to the HIVE AUSTRIA group in German:
The HIVE blog is in German, I also linked to a conversation with Austria Post on their Facebook page, which is also in German - CHECK IT OUT HERE - Date May 19th, the day before my blog.
Additional stuff to think about, because in these situations it is more than just ironic: the slogan for a ad for the Austrian Post was unveiled 10 years ago:
"Wenn's wirklich wichtig ist, dann lieber mit der Post" English: "If it's really important, then better by post". This is good for a laugh when you read the comments on this article by the Standard. COVID-19 excuses for poor service today? It has always been poor service according to comments posted a decade ago! But the problems then pale in comparison with the problems today.
I like to mention something here about myself: when it comes to Logistics, I am not a layman. This was my first job qualification and diploma I earned from the Handelskammer in Vienna. I have a good understanding of the industry, as well as related experience working for the railway in Canada.