The Finnish postal service Post says that deliveries of mail to and from areas outside Europe and China are nearly at a standstill.
Deliveries to and from the United States are the most difficult at the moment, but that the situation is constantly changing, says Sami Finne, Director of Consumer Mail and International Affairs at Posti Group.
“The situation changes daily now. The US is the most challenging market. A few days ago packages were still going there, but at the moment we don’t have any channel there. On the other hand, we’ve gotten quite a good continuous link to China,” Finne says.
Transport connections have been cut off as the coronavirus crisis has grounded most aviation and led to many border closures.
All systems go within Europe
Finne says that deliveries within Europe are flowing at a nearly normal pace, as ground transport has replaced air cargo. However there are some slowdowns due to internal border checks.
“Three or four weeks ago we were monitoring the situation in Europe on a day-to-day basis, but now many things have started to level off. Within Europe we’re already on quite firm footing as we’re not dependent on flights. The problem is mainly intercontinental deliveries,” he tells Yle.
Finne says that about half of mailings from China are arriving on the normal schedule while the others are delayed by a week or two, for instance.
Finne says Posti is constantly looking for new alternate routes to replace those that are shut down.
“Packages are stored and then sent on as soon as a route becomes available. For instance we don’t have any regular connections to South Korea at the moment, but last week we were able to send off all the packages that had been collected,” he explains, but notes that there are variations in how quickly incoming post is accepted and processed in various countries.
Posti to open new parcel pickup points
On the domestic front, Posti has been busier than usual due to the sharp rise in online sales since the state of emergency was declared on 16 March, especially as many retailers are offering free home deliveries.
"We have increased the number of employees and deliveries as well as obtained new parcel handling facilities to be able to provide our services as normally as possible," explains Jarmo Ainasoja, Posti’s exceptional circumstances leader.
However there have been regional delays for home parcel deliveries, especially in the Helsinki region.
“The additional resources we have now introduced should fix the issue by next week at the latest," says Ainasoja.
While Friday is a holiday, parcels will be sorted and transported to the pickup points and homes on Saturday as well as on Sunday in some areas, he adds. Posti also plans to open new temporary parcel pickup points next week.