Option considered to send Saba, Statia mail directly to St. Maarten

The Dutch government is looking at the possibility of sending mail for St. Eustatius and Saba directly to St. Maarten.

Dutch State Secretary of Economic Affairs and Cli­mate Mona Keijzer stated this in a letter to the Sec­ond Chamber of the Dutch Parliament earlier this week in response to a letter from former Democratic Party St. Eustatius Councilman Koos Sneek.

Sneek pointed out in his let­ter that it took an extremely long time for mail to arrive from the Netherlands and that the quality of mail de­livery between the islands and the rest of the world was poor. The Second Cham­ber’s Permanent Commit­tee for Kingdom Relations asked Keijzer for a response.

She explained that the Con­sumer and Market Author­ity ACM was planning new measurements in 2019 to see how long it takes mail to reach the islands. The Minis­try of Economic Affairs and Climate EZK will be sending a number of test mail pack­ages to the islands, whereby the logistic process will be monitored. “This may result in specific information on where the bottlenecks are,” stated Keijzer.

An analysis carried out by the EZK Ministry showed that the delay in the handling of mail happens after Royal Dutch Airlines KLM has transported the mail from Amsterdam to Bonaire. KLM flies to Bonaire four times a week. All mail for the Caribbean Netherlands, including for St. Eustatius and Saba, is transported to Bonaire in single bundle.

In Bonaire, the mail is handed to the postal courier service for the Caribbean Netherlands, FXDC. The mail for St. Eustatius and Saba goes to the islands via St. Maarten. The lack of di­rect flights between Bonaire and St. Eustatius and Saba is a delaying factor. Another such factor is the limited ca­pacity for transport of goods between the Windward Is­lands.

Caribbean Netherlands CN Express, a chartered flight between Bonaire and St. Eu­statius, did have a positive effect on the speed of postal delivery. However, that was a temporary, subsidised air connection, Keijzer noted.

She explained that FXDC is currently negotiating a contract with another airline that can take the mail from Bonaire to the Windward Islands. For now, FXDC has a contract with Winair for the transportation of mail. “However, these flights are primarily for passenger transport, and therefore they have a limited capacity.”

A second possible solu­tion currently under consid­eration, together with the Dutch postal services Post NL, FXDC, Postal Services St. Maarten and Winair, is the option of splitting the mail for the three Caribbean Netherlands islands in Am­sterdam.

“This means that the mail for Saba and St. Eusta­tius would be sent directly from the Netherlands to St. Maarten, and from there on to the two islands, instead of first via Bonaire to St. Maarten. We will look into the amount of time that is saved, what the logistical re­quirements are, and whether this is worth the cost con­sidering the very limited amount of mail that is in­volved,” Keijzer said.

The results will be known after the summer.

The Daily Herald.

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