Posti is celebrating an anniversary this week after Queen Christina verified Finland’s first postage fees on September 6, 1638. The world changing and so is Posti. Today, we make 11 million deliveries in Finland, of which approximately 150,000 are parcels.
“Due to digitalization, Posti is facing a turning point in its long history: as digital communications are becoming more and more common and the needs of our customers are changing rapidly, our work involves an increasing number of goods and parcel transports, various logistics services and a significant amount of digital services. The proportion of universal service products or stamped items is currently less than 5% of all delivered items,” says Posti’s President and CEO Heikki Malinen.
Mail is now delivered at your front door, but initially it was picked up at the postmaster’s home
Posti is one of Finland’s largest private-sector employers, and it provides jobs for approximately 20,000 people. Posti’s extensive delivery network can nowadays reach all households and companies in Finland. When Posti was established 380 years ago, the network was quite small and Posti employed only a handful of people. Post offices were set up in the five cities along the first post line, Turku, Helsinki, Porvoo, Priozersk (Käkisalmi) and Vyborg (Viipuri). A member of each city’s bourgeois was assigned to handle mail in their own home.
Mail has been delivered regularly in Finland already since 1638. In the 17th and 18th centuries, mail was not delivered beyond the post offices. Customers visited post offices to inquire whether they had received any mail. The first time an attempt to deliver mail directly to the customers was made nearly 200 years ago. Finland is one of the few countries where newspapers are delivered directly to the reader’s mailbox.
Mail was initially delivered by foot. However, several methods of transport are included in Posti’s history. Although motorcycles were used to deliver mail in the countryside in the late 1950s, some letters were still delivered by horse or, as in Lapland, by reindeer. Posti currently owns more than 3,900 commercial vehicles, such as all-terrain vehicles, vans and trucks.
Bicycles and delivery carts are also used to deliver mail. This year, 200 electric freight scooters and 250 electrically assisted maxi delivery carts have also been used in mail delivery.
Increasing number of parcels, decreasing letter volumes
E-commerce is growing at a rate of approximately 10 percent a year. Letter volumes are declining while parcel volumes are breaking records. The change is clearly visible: Last year, Posti delivered more parcels and goods than ever before. Constant reforms are necessary as traditional mail volumes decline. Posti’s future lies firmly in parcels and logistics.
“Widespread e-commerce and parcel business are in the early phases of their growth. We have merely scratched the surface of this megatrend. Thanks to online stores, Finns can buy nearly anything in Finland and abroad, and Posti will deliver the items to their destinations,” says Malinen.
When Posti was starting its operations, the time to deliver letters by horse carriages across Finland took more than 20 days. Now, the same distance can be traveled with a mail truck in a little more than 10 hours.
“Our customers expect us to be fast. To meet their expectations, we are beginning to deliver parcels purchased online on the same day and launching weekend deliveries this fall,” says Malinen.