World Stamps

UPU reports trains easing backlog of mail, medical supplies in Europe

Apr 16, 2020, 3 PM
The mail backlog was caused in part by the cancellation of flights due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, and also due to the increased use of online shopping.

By Linn’s Staff

Mail-only trains are now running from China to Lithuania and Poland in an effort to “clear the huge backlog of mail destined for Europe and provide medical supplies,” according to an April 16 press release from the Universal Postal Union.

The backlog was caused in part by the cancellation of flights due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, and also due to the increased use of online shopping.

The first mail-only train, the “China Post” CR Express, was unloaded in Vilnius, Lithuania, April 14. According to the UPU, the train carried mail and two containers of medical supplies.

The UPU reports that China Post, Lithuania Post, Polish Post and railroad operators are working together to transport approximately 2,000 tons of mail from China in the next two to three months.

After the trains arrive in Lithuania or Poland, the mail will be unloaded and transported by truck to more than 30 other European countries.

The press release said: “The use of the rail network to deliver mail is a success for the Universal Postal Union’s Supply Chain Team, which has championed the rail network for the delivery of mail between Europe and Asia.”

Abdelilah Bousseta, UPU’s director of postal operations said, “Sometimes supreme challenges can lead to good ideas and produce simplified solutions. At present, given the current situation, the train network is one of the very best solutions for moving the huge volumes of mail.”

The team also is working with other postal administrations in its effort to transport mail by rail.

Other efforts by the UPU include teaming up with the International Air Transport Association in a campaign to keep cargo planes moving as passenger flights are suspended.

An April 3 press release from the UPU said: “The campaign seeks to encourage governments to fast track procedures and relax restrictions to keep air cargo supply lines, including the mail transport, open in the wake of widespread passenger flight cancellations.”

The UPU also has praised the efforts made by postal administrations around the world.

In a March 20 press release, David Dadge, program manager for the UPU’s Communication and Events Programme, said: “The Post’s experience in the first quarter of 2020 shows how a global pandemic has splintered the world’s trade and commerce. It is also a tribute to everyone in the postal industry who, despite this extraordinary situation, has continued to try and keep the post moving.”

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