United States of America – Impact of COVID-19 on postal operations

11 abril, 2020

​United States Postal Service (USPS) would like to advise member countries and their designated operators on the impacts of COVID-19 on its operations at offices of exchange and in the USPS networks involved in the transport, processing and delivery of international mail.

While USPS networks have been impacted by precautionary measures against the spread of COVID-19 currently enacted by national, state or municipal authorities, its offices of exchange have been accepting and processing all the mail tendered to it for delivery in the domestic network.

However, USPS now wishes to inform its partners of the following temporary changes:

1.     USPS can no longer maintain service delivery standards (i.e., on-time delivery, quality of service link measurement to terminal dues, parcel performance measurement, tracked letter-post performance metrics, EMS service performance, and other related parameters for measuring quality), applicable under the UPU provisions.  Consequently, USPS is declaring a situation of force majeure in relation to any such standards, including the quality link to remuneration (suspension of Pay-for-Performance penalties has been unanimously agreed by the EMS Cooperative).

2.     USPS is honouring the requests of Union member countries whose designated operators have formally requested, via EmIS, that mail dispatches to their countries be halted.  Starting from 3 April 2020, USPS has taken appropriate measures within its networks to comply with these requests.  USPS is therefore declaring, with immediate effect, a situation of force majeure in respect of mail dispatches to the countries concerned, and ceasing to accept letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items destined for those Union member countries until they indicate they have reopened their networks and are able to accept international mail.

3.     Owing to the suspension of many flights and the resulting reduction in transport capacity, USPS is now limited in its ability to send outbound mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) to some Union member countries.  As a result, it is declaring a situation of force majeure, with immediate effect, and ceasing to accept US-origin letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items destined for the Union member countries concerned until sufficient transport capacity becomes available.  Designated operators are advised to consult the following web page for USPS's most recent listing of the destinations impacted: about.usps.com/newsroom/service-alerts/international/welcome.htm.

 4.     As a result of the decreasing transport capacity and the resultant tonnage of delayed volumes backlogged at its offices of exchange, USPS is not in a position to offer transit services at this time.

 5.     USPS has changed its traditional procedures for international mail requiring signature.  In lieu of asking the recipient to provide a signature, USPS delivery staff have been requested to maintain a safe distance, and ask the recipient for their first initial and family name. This information (along with delivery agent details) is entered into the mobile delivery device. USPS therefore declares a force majeure situation in respect of the applicable UPU provisions regarding capture of signature on international mail items.

Designated operators able to obtain air transport to these airport destinations should continue dispatching their mail to any of the five USPS air offices of exchange.

Those designated operators seeking to dispatch their priority (A-class) and S.A.L. (B-class) mails via sea transportation are asked to first consult with USPS (InternationalOperations@usps.gov) on what would be involved in setting up "door-to-door" arrangements for the transfer of their mails from the US maritime port of entry to one of the appropriate five USPS offices of exchange.  The USPS maritime Foreign Exchange Center (USJECA) is only equipped to handle acceptance of surface/economy (C-class) mails under agreements established bilaterally with its partners in 2019 or earlier.

USPS will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation and actively follow the guidance and safety recommendations issued by appropriate US authorities at the national, state and municipal levels.

USPS thanks all Union member countries and their designated operators for their understanding. It will update them via EmIS as needed, including when the situation returns to normal.