The US Can Learn from Norway on Postal Reform

Devin Leonard from Bloomberg wrote an article What the U.S. Can Learn From Norway’s Postal Reforms. He pointed out that “ If Congress wants the Postal Service to survive for another 238 years, it needs to pay more attention to Norway. ” The claim is reasonable given the performance of these two countries in post. During 2013 Norway Post kept its mail segment revenues stable, on NOK 10.5 billion ($1.77billion) and the USPS(United States Post Service) lost $5 billion. What is the secret of Norway Post’s success?

Digital mailbox

In 2011, Norway post launched a digital mailbox system-Digipost.  All residents of Norway who are over 15 years can register for an account of Digipost. It is based on a person’s street address and national ID number, and the system has the same security level as internet banks. For customers who have used e-mails from banks, insurance companies and public institutions, now they only need to log in the Digipost account which combines all these different accounts. Post&Parcel reports that 300,000 Norwegians have opened its digital mailbox so far with about 3 million letters sent digitally through the mailbox in 2013. A number of companies , such as banks , insurance companies and health authorities have also used Digipost as their email solution. “Ultimately, the USPS needs to start digitizing the mail stream as Norway Post has done,“ writes Devin on Bloomberg.

Cutting cost

In 2013, 79 post offices were conversed into retail agency-based outlets, Post in Shops,  contributing to a 10.7% growth in mail operating results in Norway. This could back up the US’s union leaders’ proposal to open up post offices in Staples stores.

A new move of Norway Post this year are proposals to end Saturday letter delivery in Norway in order to help Norway Post’s cost controll. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe is also calling to end Saturday delivery in the US. Other proposals from Norway Post include the scrapping of legally-required service levels and further re-developments in its distribution network, according to Post&Parcel.  All of these proposals are going to be discussed in the Spring session of Parliament.

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