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Make Canada Post Profitable - Expand (or use drones?)

Updated on December 15, 2019

Imagine You Owned a Company

If your company lost $109 million for the third quarter of 2013, would you heave a sigh of relief?

The Canada Post Corporation did both. It lost $109 million for that quarter & it heaved a sigh of relief. But then it was entitled to heave that sigh, because the result was a lot better than the loss of $145 million it sustained in the same quarter of 2012.

And even better, the Postal segment of the companies lost only $131 million for the third quarter of 2013, compared to a loss of $160 million in the same quarter of 2012.

To be fair, fewer and fewer people are sending letters; what with Skype, texting, email, facebook U-Tube, and twitter, there is no point. Nowadays you don’t need to wait a few days before you receive news via letter post – you can have it immediately. You don’t need to wait for bills via letter mail either, you can get them via the internet, and not only that, you can pay the bills via the internet as well. Soon we won’t need to leave the house to receive and pay bills. And gossiping over the garden fence became obsolete decades ago.

Parcels are the only things that can’t be sent via the up-to-date communications systems, and I wouldn’t bet on that being impossible for much longer. Considering that invisibility blankets are now on the testing table, it shouldn’t be much longer before someone invents a method of materialising your purchase onto your lap.

Canada Post commissioned a report which concluded that the firm would have an annual loss of $1 billion per year by 2020. That’s a helluva lot of money to lose, but luckily it is the sole shareholder who will be responsible for this shortfall. And that sole shareholder is the Government of Canada. Now read the first five words in the article again. If you are Canadian, you don’t need to imagine you own a company; you own Canada Post. Doesn’t that give you a cozy warm feeling in your purse?

A typical United Kingdom letter box
A typical United Kingdom letter box
A typical Canadian town mail box - the black box to the left.
A typical Canadian town mail box - the black box to the left.
A typical Canadian rural mail box
A typical Canadian rural mail box

It's Time for Expanding not Closing!

Canada Post is taking steps to rectify this horrendous loss. It is following the path normally taken when a firm is losing money; it is closing branches and firing employees.

And… they are also trying a different approach. Until the Christmas season is over, they are in partnership with some retailers to guarantee same day delivery – sorry, make that same evening delivery. I don’t know about you, but I’m glad I don’t have to stay in and wait for postal deliveries; it’s bad enough having to remain indoors as you wait for UPS deliveries.

I have the perfect solution for Canada Post’s woes. Deliver only on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the two most boring days of the week.

Not only would that save fuel and salaries, it would please every customer who is waiting for a bill; yes, some firms still send them via snail-mail. Think of the joy of being able to say… ‘Bill? What Bill? I haven’t received a bill.…and be able to say it without feeling guilty.

Believe it or not, the ‘twice a week’ delivery would guarantee extra jobs, as larger sorting stations would have to be built to store the piling up goods; in fact the sorting stations would have to be HUGE for them to hold all the extra parcels. There would be snags of course; letter boxes would have to be increased in size.

[Let me explain first of all about letter boxes for those readers who live in the United Kingdom. In the UK you have letter boxes built into outside doors; stylish letter boxes that blend in with your door shape and colour. If you tried to cut any kind of hole in a Canadian outside door, not only would you get sued, you’d also freeze to death.]

In cities there are banks of mail boxes in the Post Offices, and apartment buildings have their own banks of mail boxes. Apart from that, the Canadian ‘letter box’ is a ‘mail box’ and it is fitted outside the house, usually beside the front door. All the mailman has to do is lift the flap up and drop the mail into the box. All of these banks of mail boxes and door side mail boxes would have to be increased in size - giving more work for retailers and odd-job-men.

In modern suburbia, the homes have banks of mail boxes at the start of the housing scheme, to save the mail being delivered to each and every home. These would have to be immensely increased in size, perhaps requiring engineering and construction firms to change them – more jobs.

In rural Canada, mail boxes are used at the road end of the driveway. This means the mail can be dropped into the mail boxes from the mail van, which can be driven along the wrong side of the road if necessary, with the amber flashing lights to warn other road users.

A handy part of the rural mail boxes is the red arm; when the mailman has dropped in the mail he/she can raise the red lever to signify to the owner that mail has been delivered. This red arm is necessary because the home the mail box belongs to could be half a mile away up a driveway, and the owner could require binoculars to distinguish if they had any mail. When the mail box owners pick up the mail they are supposed to lower the red arm. (If the arm is upright the day following delivery, it indicates that the box owner has some mail to be picked up and posted.)

Mail boxes have to be a precise height from the ground so that the mailman can insert the mail at vehicle window level, and they are liable to be moved if they are built in a dangerous situation - yet more jobs and extra revenue for retailers and mail box manufacturers.

Split the 49th parallel in two

P.S. Any Canadian who has purchased goods from eBay or other internet trading firms will have come across the ‘We don’t deliver to Canada message. This is extremely embarrassing. Canadian internet firms don’t deliver to third world countries in case of theft, or political turmoil. Does this mean that Canada is a third world country to the United States of America?

Presently, to overcome this embarrassment, we as a family, have goods delivered across the St. Lawrence at a US post office. The post office phones us when the parcel arrives and we go across and pick it up – then we have some explaining to do at Canadian Customs – not so much embarrassment there as understanding.

Why don’t the Canadian & American Post Offices get together? They could build a sorting station straddling both borders. The side in the US could be the ‘care of’ part for American parcels aimed at Canada? After the parcels have been checked, they could be shunted over to the Canadian side for normal Canada post deliveries. Doesn’t that sound like a feasible idea, or is it too sensible?

P.P.S. Canada Post own 91% of a firm called Purolator. Purolator deliver parcels for Canada Post. According to Wikipaedia, Purolator is an abbreviated form of ‘Pure Oil Later,’ from when the company was owned by a US oil and filter manufacturer. If this is so, why didn’t they change the name? And why is it PuroLATOR, instead of PuroLATER?

Couldn’t they have, at the very least have named it PuroSOONER?

There you go…not only Canada Post’s problems solved but thousand of extra jobs for the International Community. Please guys, no statue, you’ll have me blushing, and you know I’m averse to pigeon poop.

Delivery by Drone?

Let's hope that Canada Post don’t look towards Amazon’s ‘octocopter’ to lift it into profit. At the beginning of December, Amazon’s CEO promised delivery by drone within a few years.

Could this be science fact at last, instead of science fiction? Dream on. Consider what drones are being used for at the moment. Their prime purpose is spying – and dropping bombs in Pakistan. If Amazon were going to use drones to deliver parcels, there would have to be a huge stride in their delivery capabilities.

At the moment drones drop things – period. If your purchase was a rare crystal vase, you will know when it is delivered by the explosive noise it makes as it is dropped from a great height. The same thing would apply to electronics and any fragile item.

If octocopters ever come into being, all our mail boxes will have to open facing skywards, and they would have to sign a delivery note for you. And, God help your parcel if there is a high wind, a flock of marauding pigeons, or a hunter.

To deliver things they would have to be able to land, at the correct address, or hover while you signed for the parcel; then it would have to take off again. And when it comes to finding the correct address, GPS is a wonderful thing, but it still directs my visitors to the pizza delivery place on the next block.

I'll rely on my mailman, if you don't mind


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