Post Office to launch online shopping platform
An online shopping platform run by the Bermuda Post Office could be fully operational by the middle of next month.
Wayne Furbert, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, told the House of Assembly yesterday it was part of a plan to increase revenues through the expansion of technology and e-commerce.
He said the platform, called MyBermudaPost, powered by popular shopping website MyUS, would have a soft launch by Thursday, with an official start date in mid-October.
He said: “This new service will allow Bermuda Post Office customers the ability to purchase goods and merchandise in the USA, and hopefully the UK within three to six months, and have those items delivered locally through the Bermuda Post Office’s logistical network of sub-offices.
“Or, they can be delivered directly to local residences and businesses via an expanded courier and home delivery service.“
Mr Furbert also said a postal rate increase would be made in April, 2022.
He said the Post Office would also offer a local “last-mile” logistic service to local entrepreneurs, e-tailors and businesses, which would allow delivery of locally sold products to people’s homes and workplaces.
The minister also revealed that technological changes would enable the Bermuda Post Office to pre-clear inbound mail items as an agent for customs.
He said: “Recipients of incoming parcel and packages mail will receive an e-mail or SMS message from the Bermuda Post Office asking if they would like to provide an electronic invoice for the pre-clearance of their goods.
“Bermuda Post Office customers can also choose their delivery option: residence, business or any location of their choice and the Bermuda Post Office will deliver accordingly,” he said.
“Customs duty can be paid online. If the customer wishes to do so, they can ignore the SMS or e-mail message and their package will go to their sub-office location and a collection notice will be delivered as per normal procedures.
“As previously communicated, the current service and processing fee is to be increased to $10 to help cover BPO’s processing and administration of inbound mail items, to provide customers with an advice of arrival, and to complete and confirm Bermuda Customs Declaration (BCD) forms. Delivery to any physical address in Bermuda is free.”
Mr Furbert said the Post Office’s philatelic website would be operational by September 30.
He said: “The website will allow philatelic account holders and visitors to the site the ability to order stamp collections, manage standing orders and top-ups to their accounts for stamp releases of their choice for local and international delivery.”
Touch screen kiosks at the General Post Office (GPO) and all sub-offices would be introduced in 2022 and public and free wi-fi at the GPO was also being examined.
He said the BPO also planned to introduce a “drop-and-deliver” service within the next six months, which would enable local e-commerce vendors that do not have a delivery network the option of dropping off their mail items to the Bermuda Post Office for delivery locally.
“Conversely, they can arrange for the Post Office to pick-up from their place of business. Local post rates apply, with a $5 fee per delivery item,” said the minister.
The Post Office will also introduce a “one-size, one-price” mailbox for outgoing international parcel mail.
Mr Furbert said improvements to post office appearances would also be made, along with updated staff uniforms and a renewed focus on customer service and positive customer service experiences.
He said amendments would be made to Post Office legislation as a result of the changes.
In answer to questions from Opposition MP Susan Jackson, Mr Furbert said expenses were not expected to increase as a result of the changes, but he said revenues were expected to increase by $800,000 to $1 million a year.
He told One Bermuda Alliance whip Jarion Richardson that the legislation was expected to be tabled as soon as possible.
Asked if the $10 processing fee would be the only fee increase, Mr Furbert said there could be additional fees, but they would be cheaper than fees charged by private courier services for deliveries.
He noted that the Post Office had lost millions of dollars over the years and changes needed to be made.
Mr Furbert said additional staff hiring was not expected.
Mr Furbert’s full statement is attached under related media and can also be found here.