What Do Postal Cutbacks Mean for Cross-Border Business?

By: Elliott Smith
Recent news out of Ottawa and Washington DC that postal delivery could be curtailed to fewer days per week in both the US and Canada prompts us to ask the question: What would reductions in postal service delivery days mean for cross-border business? The answer is: not much. That’s because the proposal in the US would eliminate Saturday letter delivery only, Saturday parcel delivery by the US Postal Service (USPS) would continue unabated.  And in Canada, Saturday delivery was eliminated long ago. Further, so much international commerce already travels by private parcel carrier that it’s unlikely the reductions would have much of an impact on cross-border commerce. But it’s a good teachable moment, and an opportunity to review the different parcel delivery options available in the US and Canada.
Saturday delivery was cut “more than 40 years ago” in Canada, but current proposals could see further reductions, perhaps down to as few as three days per week, CTV reports. A subsequent report by Canoe.ca says that 30 post offices will be closed throughout Canada this year. Cross-border business will likely be insulated from significant impact, however, due to the large variety of choices in private parcel carriers available in Canada.
“Canadians are spoiled” says International Market Access, Inc. President Jim Pettinger “when it comes to parcel shipping.” Pettinger adds that there are essentially only two options for private carrier parcel shipping in the US: FedEx and UPS. Canada, on the other hand, has a plethora of private carriers. Purolator, although 91% owned by Canada post, operates as separate entity and offers complete domestic and international parcel delivery services. Canpar and Loomis Express, both units of the Transforce Company offer parcel shipping to virtually all of Canada, as well as the continental United States. Additionally, FedEx and UPS both have full Canadian operations.
Cross-Border Shipping
The bottom line is that postal reductions in both the US and Canada are unlikely to affect cross-border business because Canadians have so many other parcel shipping options, and proposed cuts in the US will not reduce parcel delivery. Trade Tips Blog will monitor the proposed cuts in both countries, and post updates when developments occur.
TradeTips blog is published by UCanTrade, Inc., your cross-border experts since 1984.
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Logan West