Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom’s report on Posti’s plans to change mail delivery in the Turku archipelago has been completed.
Traficom’s decision draft includes a new guideline that states that only islands with a scheduled ferry connection that operates less than twice a weekday can be classified as mail delivery areas that are difficult to reach.
Posti’s Area Manager Hannu Riihimäki considers the new Traficom interpretation of the areas that are hard to reach as problematic and contradictory to the 2017 amendment to the Postal Act. According to Riihimäki, the purpose of the amendment to the Postal Act was to increase flexibility in the picking and delivery of universal service letters in archipelago and wilderness areas that are hard to reach, in particular.
“In mail delivery, some areas are hard to reach because the total work effort used on mail delivery to these exceptional areas is much greater than the national average. Demanding five-day delivery in areas where delivery costs are double or quadruple compared to the national average is unreasonable,” says Riihimäki.
According to Riihimäki, a ferry connection that operates twice a day may make an area hard to reach for mail delivery if the connections to the island take place early in the morning and late in the evening. In this case, the deliverer would have to wait several hours to get off the island. When the travel time to an island in relation to the distance and number of households grows very long, the island can be considered an archipelago area that is hard to reach.
The decision draft states that there are areas in the Turku archipelago where no exceptions can be made to five-day delivery. These areas are 21195 Velkua (Palva and Velkuanmaa), 23390 Iniö (excluding Kvarnholm, Perkkala, Salmis and Åselholm, among other postal code areas, that don’t have a scheduled ferry connection that operates twice a weekday), 25940 Hiittinen, 25950 Rosala and 25960 Högsåra. Posti will continue five-day delivery for universal service letters in these areas in accordance with Traficom’s decision. However, exceptions can be made to five-day delivery in the postal code areas 21720 Korpoström (boat route) and 21740 Utö.
Posti explained the planned changes with the areas being hard to reach but also with the strong decrease in delivery volumes. Declining proceeds no longer cover the costs of five-day delivery. In practice, the loss resulting from deliveries to the archipelago is paid for by Posti’s other customers as Posti operates without state subsidy.
“Five-day delivery means significantly high and continuously increasing delivery costs per letter or postcard in particular in the outer archipelago, even up to hundreds of euros,” says Riihimäki.