Private postal delivery may become commonplace

Canada Post is committed to a plan that will see, among other things, the elimination of door-to-door delivery across Canada.

I’m not taking sides on postal transformation, but I figure that the corporation has done a good job of getting support from the government, and with the current government’s combination of a top-down approach, and a clear majority, the handwriting is on the wall.

My speculation is centred on the future of delivery.

People who have been getting home delivery their entire life, will one day be asked to take a hike to a community mailbox. That gap has spawned a new company, which will pick up your mail and deliver it to your house, for just a few bucks a month.

I’m not sure who will take advantage of this service. Presumably those who have difficulty getting out, or feel they are too busy, or just find they don’t want that added inconvenience. Another side of this service is that the firm will also pick up your outgoing mail and drop it into the postal system. For a few bucks more, you can even have them filter out your junk mail.

What I find interesting is that this service is taking on a resemblance of a private postal service. I see a parallel in the early airmail services in Canada, and the private posts of countries such as Australia, which charged a fee to deliver mail to and from remote locations. Today, private posts are springing up around the world, which handle local delivery themselves, using regular mail for delivery to more distant locations.

In Europe, postal services are being forced to allow private systems, or even to privatize their own operations, since EU bureaucrats find the idea of a government-run postal monopoly distasteful.

In recent years, such a thing has been unthinkable in Canada. We’ve had a deal for years. Canada Post accepted an obligation to deliver mail to all of Canada at an affordable rate, and in return was given a monopoly on first-class mail. It worked for years, but with lettermail volumes in rapid decline, Canada Post has started hinting around for a new deal.

The elimination of home delivery in urban areas is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s face it, rural delivery to the traditional mailbox at the end of the road isn’t going to last long either.

As a corporation, Canada Post will be concentrated around sorting mail, and transporting it between an ever-decreasing number of centralized locations.

I see a time when the corporation will not only tolerate companies transporting mail between homes and businesses and these centralized locations, but welcome it as a way to keep the public happy while Canada Post concentrates on running sorting plants.

Inevitably those same businesses, since they are travelling from door-to-door, will also start some localized point-to-point delivery.

Yes, my friends, I am pretty sure that private posts will be a common sight in just a few years. My only real regret is that they probably won’t go through the hassle of using stamps, just charge a bulk fee.

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