With effect from 6th August, Royal Mail implemented changes to its UK Postal Scheme, so it is no longer required to deliver next day mail between the UK and the Isle of Man. These modifications were accompanied by Royal Mail's intention to cease operations of their dedicated mail aircraft, currently used to convey mail to and from the Island, in favour of extending ferry and road freight services. Prior to making this pivotal shift, Royal Mail committed to engaging in discussions with the Isle of Man Post Office.
Since Royal Mail’s announcement, Isle of Man Post Office (IOMPO) has sought to understand its customer preferences and needs, drawing on recent comprehensive surveys of both residential and business customers. Notably, feedback from over 3,700 residential respondents indicated that a delivery window of two-plus days for UK standard mail was deemed reasonable. Likewise, among 115 business respondents, 79% considered a delivery time of two days or more for UK standard mail as reasonable. These surveys also highlighted the importance of tracked and guaranteed mail, with 88% of businesses viewing tracked mail as essential or important, and 68% emphasising the significance of guaranteed next day delivery for their business mail.
An additional online survey aimed at businesses, kindly supported by the Chamber of Commerce, garnered 102 responses and revealed that 73% of respondents deemed maintaining a UK next-day guarantee service as critical. Furthermore, a majority expressed willingness to accommodate an earlier collection time (than close of business) for urgent mail and higher tariffs for expedited UK-bound shipments.
Simon Kneen, Chief Executive of IOMPO said: “Our research demonstrates that the vast majority of our customers would not be affected by the transition from aircraft to ferry, and therefore our primary focus has been to find solutions for those who might be more impacted by the change.” He stressed the importance of striking the right balance between customer needs, cost-efficiency, and environmental responsibility. Aligned to IOM Governments ‘Net-Zero’ aspirations, the shift from a dedicated aircraft to the existing ferry and road freight systems is projected to reduce CO2 emissions by over 600 tonnes annually.
Simon continued, “In response to the expressed demand from commercial customers, IOMPO will introduce Royal Mail's 'Tracked 48' product. This offering will provide business account customers with a competitive product equipped with tracking to the point of delivery and insurance coverage of £150. Additionally, in collaboration with Royal Mail, IOMPO will initiate a trial to maintain a UK guaranteed next day service. This service will be managed through a scheduled airline, when Royal Mail discontinue their dedicated aircraft operation in mid-October. It will be available to IOMPO business account customers, with an option for other customers to utilise this service for personal mail via the customer counter at Postal Headquarters in Braddan. This trial phase will allow IOMPO to assess customer demand and gauge commercial viability. All other mail to/from the UK will be efficiently transferred using established ferry and road services.”
Simon concluded, "The data collected has played a pivotal role in directing our efforts to minimise disruption arising from the discontinuation of the aircraft service. We extend our gratitude to all respondents, including members of the Chamber of Commerce, for their time and perspectives. Currently, we are in the final stages of refining service details and arrangements. We will publish these particulars in the coming weeks, ensuring a minimum of four weeks' notice before the changes take effect."