An individual letter or parcel is transported in a receptacle, which is placed in a Unit Load Device or roll cage, which in turn is placed in a truck or aircraft for transport. This physical ‘nesting’ is reflected in the data provided through electronic messages which record the 'events' (where and when) as the item passes reading points in the mail pipeline. The reading technology for these events is mainly barcodes but also includes Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) for vehicles carrying RFID tags. Records of all these events are stored in the CAPE (Computer Aided Post through EDI) system at IPC.


CAPE serves a number of communities with tailored online functions for each. These functions are specifically targeted to postal international operations people who are responsible for:

  • Processing of inbound and outbound international mail at offices of exchange
  • Resource planning prior to the mail arrival
  • Monitoring of transport performance and comparing that with planned performance levels
  • Transportation of international mail by air and road
  • Operation of the IPC Tray and Bag Pools at Offices of Exhange and at IPC
  • Operation of the IPC Sprinter Network for road transport of priority mail
  • Monitoring compliance with the requirements for the IPC Certificate of Excellence in the Management and Processing of International Letter Mail
  • Assessment by the IPC Performance Centre of compliance with agreed targets
  • Analysis of end-to-end transit time for idividual barcoded mail items

CAPE also provides tailored services for airline and ground handling staff at airports in support of the IPC Future of Mail by Air Initiative. The handover time between airline and post is increasingly recorded by the IPC Mail Registration Device located at the handover point at the Office of Exchange at the airport. These devices are connected to the central CAPE system.

Internally, at IPC, the CAPE system feeds data to the IPC Item Monitoring System, which is used to provide periodic performance reports for EMS, E-Parcels Group and PRIME, and to the IPC Customer Service System, which is used to link hundreds of customer call centres of posts across the world.


IPC CAPE Net provides the technical infrastructure to transport electronic data containing the recorded events along the mail pipeline, whether generated by the posts, carriers or other stakeholders such as border agencies. CAPE Net monitors the compliance of the electronic data messages with UPU standards and with the data content rules specified by IPC project groups.