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IMAG Addresses BOG in Public Comments

IMAG Executive Director Kate Muth spoke during the public comment period at the November Postal Service Board of Governors meeting and addressed the role public-private partnerships can play in opening the Universal Postal Union to wider postal stakeholders. Here are her comments as prepared:

My name is Kate Muth and I am the executive director of the International Mailers Advisory Group – or IMAG – a trade association representing U.S.-based international mailers and shippers. Our members help move billions of dollars in goods annually across borders. I had the privilege of being a panelist at the October 27 Universal Postal Union conference on opening up that institution to wider sector stakeholders. The conference was a Davos-style exchange of ideas on both institutional reform of the UPU and consideration of its products and services that could be opened to wider sector players. I spoke on opening products and services and promoted the idea of “global worksharing,” modeled in large part after the successful worksharing program of the U.S. Postal Service. This approach would allow the private sector to add value to UPU products and services, helping to build postal volumes while serving the shared customer.

IMAG put forward some specific ideas, including an express-like, direct-injection commercial service at market rates that could layer UPU products and solutions on top. We encouraged proactive next steps: specifically, small market tests that could be scaled up or down depending on results, with data from the tests shared with all UPU member-countries and their designated operators.

I share this to stress the necessity of reforming the UPU and the importance of public-private partnerships in that reform. Global ecommerce is expected to hit $27 trillion in 2027, with cross-border making up 30% of that amount, or roughly $9 trillion. Cross-border shipping remains a huge opportunity for posts. And yet, this market is hyper-competitive with numerous models serving distinct customer needs. International postal volumes – already hurt by the pandemic, price increases, global recession risks, and new tax and data regimes – are a declining segment of the market. Winners in the cross-border ecosystem will be those willing to adapt and seize the opportunities, which we believe will be through public-private partnerships. IMAG stands ready to collaborate with posts.


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