House of Assembly Ministerial Statement

House of Assembly Ministerial Statement

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on the current status of the Bermuda Post Office (BPO), as well as the progress the BPO is making to modernize its services.

Mr. Speaker, the BPO’s strategic objective to increase revenues via technology, in an expanding e-commerce, logistics and parcel market, remains on target and a reality. For example, the department’s online shopping platform MyBermudaPost, powered by MyUS, is set to be implemented via a soft launch by September 30th, with an official start date in mid-October.

Mr. Speaker, this new service will allow Bermuda Post Office customers the ability to purchase goods and merchandise in the USA (and hopefully the UK within 3 – 6 months) and have those items delivered locally through the Bermuda Post Office’s logistical network of sub-offices. Or, they can be delivered directly to local residences and businesses via an expanded courier and home delivery service.

Mr. Speaker, local entrepreneurs, e-tailors and businesses will be provided with an affordable local last-mile logistic service. With increased BPO marketing and advertising efforts, the BPO will be better positioned to capitalize on the opportunity to be more competitive, efficient and sustainable.

Mr. Speaker, The Bermuda Post Office remains compliant with the Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) standards, requirements and covenants regarding the transport and processing of mail. This also includes the mandate to accept and send ITMATT (Item Attribute) data, or data that is used to communicate all mail data and information to destination postal administrations. The receiving and sending of ITMATT data will help the BPO to gain efficiencies in the Customs Declaration process, allow the BPO to pre-clear in-bound mail items and provide a greater sense of control, security and accountability to meet local standards and Revenue Act requirements as an agent for Customs.

Mr. Speaker, recipients of incoming parcel and packages mail will receive an e-mail or SMS message from the Bermuda Post Office asking if they would like to provide an electronic invoice for the pre-clearance of their goods. Bermuda Post Office customers can also choose their delivery option: residence, business or any location of their choice and the Bermuda Post Office will deliver accordingly.

Mr. Speaker, Customs duty can be paid online. If the customer wishes to do so, they can ignore the SMS or e-mail message and their package will go to their sub-office location and a collection notice will be delivered as per normal procedures.

Mr. Speaker, as previously communicated, the current service and processing fee is to be increased to $10 to help cover BPO’s processing and administration of inbound mail items, to provide customers with the advice of arrival, and to complete and confirm Bermuda Customs Declaration (BCD) forms. Delivery to any physical address in Bermuda is free.

Mr. Speaker, it is anticipated that The Bermuda Post Office’s Philatelic website will be operational by Sept. 30th, 2021. The website will allow Philatelic account holders and visitors to the site the ability to order stamp collections, manage standing orders and top-ups to their accounts for stamp releases of their choice for local and international delivery.

Mr. Speaker, additional enhancements in technology include the introduction of touch screen kiosks at the General Post Office (GPO) and all sub-offices in 2022 with the potential introduction of public and free Wi-Fi at the GPO. These initiatives are expected to improve customer service and the customer’s experience via increased foot traffic and potential increased revenues as Post Office products and services are cross-sold.

Mr. Speaker included in BPO’s future vision for the next six months is the implementation of additional value-added services such as ‘Drop-and-Deliver’. This particular service will enable local e-commerce vendors that do not have a delivery network the option of dropping off their mail items to the Bermuda PostOffice for delivery locally. Conversely, they can arrange for the Post Office to pick-up from their place of business. Local post rates apply, with a $5 fee per delivery item.

Mr. Speaker, another service the Post Office will be introducing is a ‘one-size, one-price mailbox for outgoing international parcel mail. Business customers in Hamilton who want their P.O. Box mail to be delivered can do so as well.

Mr. Speaker, improving the Bermuda Post Office appearance is also one of our objectives. Post Office locations will be refreshed; staff uniforms will be updated and a renewed focus on customer service and positive customer service experiences will be a predominant goal.

Mr. Speaker, The Bermuda Post Office expects to make legislative amendments to the Post Office Act 1900, the Post Office Regulations 1933, and the Post Office (Departmental Administration) Regulations 1933 to reflect changes in service, product offerings and future objectives. These amendments will facilitate increased logistic and online services, as well as increase efficiencies and enhance the overall customer experience when using the Bermuda Post Office’s wide range of services.

Mr. Speaker, The Bermuda Post Office is a service provider and one of only a handful of Government Departments that compete with local and international businesses in the same market. However, the Post Office public services are free, and to help balance the Post Office financially, a postal rate increase in April 2022 is necessary, coupled with the aforementioned service and product improvements.

Mr. Speaker, The Bermuda Post Office has made improvements in their business plan, technology and infrastructure to make the department more competitive, with a new proposed organization chart and a leadership vision for success. Significant progress is being made to upgrade job descriptions, along with staff training and development is emphasized to help achieve the BPO’s vision and future operational and staffing needs.

Mr. Speaker, The Bermuda Post Office, which is now led by new Postmaster General, Sam Brangman Jr., with the support of the BPO’s senior management team, remains committed to success.

Mr. Speaker, the objectives, goals and initiatives of the Bermuda Post Office for 2021-2022 and the future are to remain vision forward, innovative, customer-focused and have a sustainable postal service. Post Office staff remain hard-working and dedicated despite the adverse Covid-19 impact on the delivery of services.

 Mr. Speaker, I hasten to commend Mr. Brangman, his senior management team and all of the BPO’s employees for the stellar service they continue to provide to the community. I am very optimistic that this service will improve immensely as we implement these innovative upgrades and new products for the public.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.