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Q&A: What could moving from a mail plane to ferry mean for Jersey firms?

Q&A: What could moving from a mail plane to ferry mean for Jersey firms?

Friday 19 May 2023

Q&A: What could moving from a mail plane to ferry mean for Jersey firms?

Friday 19 May 2023

Moving from a mail plane to ferry could be "dangerous" for Jersey export businesses, according to local industry leaders – with one fearful their orders could drop by as much as 50%.

Royal Mail recently opened a consultation on proposed changes to its service, which included the replacement of Jersey's daily mail plane with a ferry service, and no longer guaranteeing next-day delivery to the Channel Islands.

Why have the changes been proposed?

Royal Mail said it was considering – alongside Jersey Post – moving to a ferry as a result of declining volumes of letters.

"This... would provide an opportunity to jointly reduce costs, while demonstrating our commitment to minimising our impact on the environment," the consultation document read.

It added: "This is also in line with Royal Mail's environmental plan, Steps to Zero, which looks to reduce reliance on flights as the company works towards its 2040 net zero target. It would result in a two-day service for sending and receiving mail from the UK."

What would the impact be on local businesses?

Jake Shaw, Director of the online retailer Euraco, was particularly concerned, stating that the effects of the resulting slower delivery times would result in a "substantial" effect on his business.

Adopting a ferry, he said, would result in a "slow, clunky service" which would add an extra working day to any delivery. Poor weather in the winter months was likely to exacerbate this delay even further, perhaps by as much as two or three days, he added.


Pictured: A ferry could result in delays of up to two or three days.

Mr Shaw explained that most of his business came from Amazon, and that Amazon’s algorithm prioritised sellers by price and by delivery time. As 80% of UK orders are next-day delivery, even an extra day would see Euraco lose out to other sellers who could offer a speedier delivery time, he said, adding: "It’s absolutely ruthless. If you add even a day, they almost kick you off."

As a result, Mr Shaw fears he could see the volume of orders drop by up to 50%. 

Mr Shaw said: "What we are seeing is our own operator looking to slow us down. Our volume will decline. If this goes through, realistically, what is the point in us using Jersey Post? Their USP is the plane. If they cut that, I’m struggling to see the point in us paying them a margin."

Paul Murphy, Chief Executive of Jersey Business and a former Chief Executive at eCommerce firm Onogo, echoed Jake's concerns. He said: "Any retrospective step is dangerous for business, especially as the outside world is getting faster."


Pictured: "Their USP is the plane..."

He added that any delay would have an impact on "supply chains, consumers and for those businesses which both import and export" with exporters likely to see reduced revenues as a result of the longer delivery times.

What could this mean for Guernsey?

The Royal Mail said that it is not reviewing the flight to and from the Bailiwick of Guernsey "at this stage", but added: "...We may do so in the future". If the ferry changes are approved for Jersey, the Royal Mail would be able to make such a change "without further consultation".

Mr Shaw suggested that the reason for this was due how the different postal services deal with international mail. While Guernsey Post uses the Royal Mail for its international orders as well as UK orders, Jersey Post uses other companies like Asendia and DHL Global Mail as these are cheaper options, according to Mr Shaw. 

As a result, Mr Shaw suggested that Guernsey's Royal Mail flight is considerably fuller, containing international as well as UK deliveries, and therefore more cost-effective. 


Pictured: Exporters are likely to see reduced revenues as a result of the longer delivery times.

What does Jersey Post have to say?

Jersey Post would not elaborate further on the proposed changes, saying: "This consultation forms part of a wider review of its services by Royal Mail and while it is ongoing, and the outcomes unknown, it would be inappropriate for Jersey Post to comment further at this time.

"Our priority is ensuring our customers receive a reliable, consistent service."

Is the regulator looking into this?

The Jersey Competition and Regulatory Authority has stated that it is monitoring the consultation, which will run until 2 June.

Any changes will take effect on 3 August.


End of the mail plane and next-day delivery from the UK in sight?

Daily aircraft “imperative” to Guernsey Post

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Comments on this story express the views of the commentator only, not Bailiwick Publishing. We are unable to guarantee the accuracy of any of those comments.

Once your comment has been submitted, it won’t appear immediately. There is no need to submit it more than once. Comments are published at the discretion of Bailiwick Publishing, and will include your username.

Posted by Robert Gabriel on
I live in St Clement and we seldom get our mail before 1pm. However, during the past year our deliveries are often made much later than this with 3 to 3.30pm becoming much more regular. Unfortunately, it’s also quite common for 1st class mail posted in Jersey to take two days to reach us and I won’t mention the number of times we’ve faced significant delays with 1st class mail posted from the UK. If that is the level of service we are getting now how much worse will it be when Royal Mail ceases to send mail by plane? Unfortunately, I have lost faith in either Jersey Post or Royal Mail to deliver our mail on time. As a consequence, I try as much as I possibly can, to use alternative means of communication with individuals and businesses. One suspects that if Royal Mail does get rid of the mail plane others will follow my example!
Posted by Martin on
I have NO criticism of Jersey post but I cannot remember when I last got a next day delivery the next day!

One was over 2 weeks stuck in the UK!
Posted by IanSmith97 on
The return of the mailboat, though unfortunately not the return of day trips to Guernsey on the old mailboats. Back on point, a retrograde step. Methinks it is a ruse by JP and the increasingly bizarre Royal Mail to get a subsidy from The States.
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