Postal services in BES Islands are inefficient

The conces­sion requirements that were set for the postal services in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba are unrealistic because a number of external and cardinal prerequisites are lacking. A major bottleneck is the lack of adequate inter-­island connections.

This is one of the conclu­sions of research that was carried out by Indigo Blue, an external bureau commis­sioned by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Cli­mate EZK to investigate the quality of postal services in the Caribbean Netherlands. Caretaker Minister of Eco­nomic Affairs and Climate Stef Blok recently sent the results, along with an ex­planatory letter, to the Sec­ond Chamber of the Dutch Parliament.

The company that currently provides postal services on the three islands is FXDC. The research bureau was asked to analyze the bottle­necks in the process of postal services and what can be done to solve the issues. It was concluded that the percentage of the mail that was handled in time did not comply with the set condi­tions. Of the 268,000 mail pieces that were delivered in 2020, 86 percent were de­livered within the legal time or with a delay of not more than one day. The remaining 14 percent was delivered too late or was returned as unde­liverable.

Research Indigo Blue also showed that the vast majority of complaints con­cerned mail from the Neth­erlands. The researchers concluded that the conces­sion requirements were not realistic due to the lacking of external and essential prerequisites. The lacking of adequate connections be­tween Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba is especially a big bottleneck.

It was further concluded that the internal (logistical) business process at FXDC is not optimized, caused by, among other things, the small-scale, the limited use of technology and the high costs of inter-island trans­port versus the revenues. Consumers have a rather negative perception of the postal services, mainly due to the long time that it takes for mail to reach from the Netherlands and the United States.

Three external factors were named: the lack of a cen­tral address system, absent street names and incorrect or lacking house numbers in Bonaire and Saba, the lack of a stable and frequent air connection between Bonaire and St. Eustatius/Saba, and the flight routes from the Netherlands and the US to Bonaire and the current routing of all mail via Bo­naire.

Researchers proposed a number of solutions: es­tablish a project bureau to set up a central system for street names and house numbers, the introduction of zip codes (“postcode”), a communication campaign with regard to the correct address system, the im­provement of the postal ser­vices, more efficient use of international flight routes in consultation with PostNL, and improving the deficient transport connection be­tween the islands.

Minister Blok promised the Second Chamber that he would have talks with the coordinating Ministry of Home Affairs and King­dom Relations BZK and the public entities Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. “In these talks, I want to find out what their view is on the proposals and which best fit their main needs. Based on these talks, we will jointly determine how a solution can best be imple­mented,” said Blok.

The minister noted that PostNL has already pledged its cooperation to realize more efficient use of inter­national flight routes. The minister was positive that the start of a new ferry ser­vice between St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius on November 1 this year would improve the deficient trans­port connection between the islands. However, this does not solve the transpor­tation issue between Bo­naire and the two Windward Islands.

The Daily Herald

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  1. My brother who lives part time in Bonaire, just received a card from our mother (NY) that was mailed in April.

    • in September i received a letter from RBC Bank which is next to the post office and both a five minute walk from my house. it was a year old!!!!

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