Snail mail still alive and running strong: UN

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New York, Dec 6 (UNI) Even in this era of communication revolution snail mail has so far successfully fended off stiff competition from almost instant e-mail and even shown a little growth with letter mail traffic up slightly, more parcels being sent and postal revenue surging, a UN agency reported today.

In its worldwide statistics for 2006, the Switzerland-based United Nations Universal Postal Union (UPU) announced that with a total traffic of 433 billion mail items, domestic letter-post traffic rose slightly compared to the year before, while international mail was down two per cent.

The number of parcels sent last year, nationally and internationally, numbered 6.235 billion increasing 4.8 per cent from the year before. Domestically, advertising mail contributed to the rise in mail volumes.

The biggest rise in domestic parcels traffic - 11.7 per cent - occurred in Africa, while internationally, Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) saw a 21.4 per cent surge.

Global postal revenue climbed 13 per cent to 308.1 billion dollars compared to 2005. More than half of these profits were generated by letter post, while more than a quarter was created by parcels and logistics services.

The statistics were gathered from responses to a UPU questionnaire, to which 163 out of the 191 UPU Member States responded.

According to the survey, the Swiss sent the largest number of letters - 713 letters annually - while the Japanese sent the most parcels, some 18.1 yearly.

The second oldest international organisation found that the world's postal services employed more than 5.5 billion people. The United States had the largest postal staff of 796,199, while Vanuatu had the fewest with only 37 employees.

Moreover, India had the largest number of post offices going up to 155,333 while Vatican stood at the lowest with only four.

UNI

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