Saturday 10 December 2016

An Post optimistic about Eircode despite tiny rate of usage

Published 29/04/2016 | 02:30

Retiring An Post chief executive Donal Connell in the GPO’s new Witness History visitors centre. Photo: Maxwells
Retiring An Post chief executive Donal Connell in the GPO’s new Witness History visitors centre. Photo: Maxwells

An Post is quietly hoping for a surge in customers using the controversial new Eircode system despite a cool reception to the €27m scheme since it was introduced last summer.

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Sources told the Irish Independent that the percentage of customers using the new postal code system is still in the single digits after it was rolled out in July 2015. In its 2015 annual report released yesterday, An Post said: "We expect to see increasing volumes of mail with Eircodes appended from major customers in the next few months as well as increasing usage by the emergency services."

The Department of Communications, which is responsible for administering the Eircode system, would not confirm or deny the reportedly low uptake rates.

An Post CEO Donal Connell, who announced his retirement yesterday from his €286,000-a-year post after a decade at the helm, said the national postal service had an operating profit of €5.2m last year despite a 2.9pc decrease in the amount of mail processed. While normal postal delivery still accounts for 64pc of An Post revenues, generating €526.2m last year, it's down 10pc since 2008 and declining by around 3pc a year due to the growing use of electronic mail.

While noting that An Post is still profitable due to its lucrative side businesses - such as insurance and financial services - chairman designate Dermot Divilly warned that the "present model whereby the profitable retail and other group businesses subsidise the loss-making mails business is, in my view, becoming increasingly unsustainable."

New revenue streams and opportunities must be tapped into to maintain profitability, he said. The company is engaged in a major restructuring scheme that saw six post offices close last year. The company has a target to eliminate 2,600 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs by 2019. Some 1,879 FTE posts have gone since 2009.

Irish Independent

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