October 9 is the 42th World Post Day. Edouard Davan, director general of the Universal Postal Union, delivered a speech titled The Post, An Invaluable Public Service Worldwide on this occasion.
His speech is as follows:
The world postal network is an enormous web that spans the four corners of the globe. Still today, it is the largest physical delivery network in the world. Each day, more than 600,000 post offices serve billions of people, and each year they handle more than 438 billion letters and six billion parcels, and offer a vast range of electronic, financial and logistics services.
On this World Post Day, we should remember the fundamental values of the Post and the numerous public services it offers to people everywhere, which contribute to the economic development of countries.
Today, of all the billions of letters processed and delivered by Posts throughout the world each year, it is estimated that more than 80% come from businesses, associations or government entities. Personal letters account for 5 to 11% of mail volumes.
Meanwhile, parcels are on the rise, as Posts have taken advantage of the growing popularity of e-commerce to become the preferred distributors of those who buy and sell over the Internet.
Postal financial services are also a popular postal product, and an ever increasing number of Posts throughout the world are focusing on this business sector. Postal financial institutions hold more than one billion of the estimated 5.18 billion current and savings accounts in the worldwide retail banking market. What is more, these institutions also offer savings and loan products as well as other services which, for people without banking facilities or with low incomes, would be difficult to access through traditional financial institutions.
Like other sectors, Posts are faced with economic crises and increased competition, but in this era of rapidly developing information technologies they are still managing to hold their own. They continue to ensure a vital communication link between people and businesses worldwide, not only in daily life but also in the face of natural disasters.
After Japan was hit by this year's massive earthquake, we heard many moving stories about Japanese people who had turned to the Post to send supplies to friends and relatives who had suddenly been left out on a limb, or to withdraw money from mobile post offices set up to serve the most severely affected areas. The Post played a major role in cementing solidarity among the people and lifting their spirits, offering hope to victims who had taken refuge anywhere they could find it.
This is the human value of postal services. Beyond the services provided, the five million postal employees – and in particular postmen, counter staff, messengers and others – are all the face of an immense public service with social and economic dimensions the world could ill afford to live without.
On this World Post Day, let us take some time to think about all the services offered by postal workers throughout the world.