ECS Group is the first GSA worldwide to offer a comprehensive and dedicated mail and e-commerce service solution. Its Mail & More module is one of its ten new abilities available for individual purchase.

With the first postal flights dating back to 1911, airmail could rightly be considered the birth of air cargo. Yet, it is often treated somewhat like an awkward relative. Operational processes deviate from those of normal air cargo (mail items fly under a CN document as opposed to an Air Waybill, and are not usually booked, but part of a predefined allotment), and the client network of Designated Post Operators (various public and private postal services), also differs from the usual freight forwarding partners. In addition, specific authorities such as the International Post Corporation and the Universal Postal Union define standards, processes, and regulations for the transport and handling of mail shipments. A separate framework stipulates an airline’s obligations, liabilities, and response procedures to irregularities.

Hence, airmail is not a standard air cargo service, and requires specialised knowledge. In recent years, an ever-increasing volume of e-commerce also falls under airmail: 2020 saw over 131 billion parcels being sent across the world, the number having trebled in just six years. Experts predict that this will rise to 266 billion by 2026, and that cross-border e-commerce will constitute 20% of all air freight this year, double what it was in 2017. Mail traffic is therefore an increasingly attractive base-load opportunity.

In 2021, in addition to offering CN-flow transport solutions to postal operators via its network, ECS Group operated 25 dedicated mail & e-commerce charters from Hong Kong (HKG) to Europe and from Europe to Africa, transporting more than 200 tonnes of mail & e-commerce in the second half of the year.

“In the first quarter of this year, we have already completed 10 charter flights carrying, in total, more than 130 tonnes of mail and e-commerce. And there is more to come,” says Adrien Thominet, ECS Group Executive Chairman.

“We understand that airlines often find dealing with mail shipments and customers difficult because of the difference in processes, and not all of them can allocate a separate team to the task. That is why, with Mail & More, we provide fully outsourceable, commodity-specific assistance ranging from commercial responsibilities all the way through to digital support,” explains Jonathan Fredericks, Mail & More Managing Director.

“To date, we have implemented a flexible EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) Mail solution for 3 airlines which enables the tracking and tracing of CN documents, and the conversion of CN documents to Postal Air Waybills (PAWB) when necessary. Our holistic service offer and long-standing experience in airmail is what sets us apart in the market. We always want to make things simple for our customers.”

ECS Group is the first GSA worldwide to provide a comprehensive mail solution with inhouse digital process support to carry mail as cargo or under CN documents. Mail & More offers Collection and Delivery under CN, ensures full mail-specific EDI compliance and comes with a Track & Trace system. Drawing on years of experience, Mail & More includes a dedicated team with the expert, technical knowledge that this commodity requires, and a far-reaching network of contacts to all global postal operators and e-commerce consolidators, allowing airlines to maximise on the revenue potentials of this precise commodity segment.

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