• Quote: ‘We are working with our airline and postal/courier partners to maintain services, however delays should be expected’ – Royal Mail

By Andrew Atkinson

Ex-pats sending Christmas presents and cards to loved ones from Spain to the UK, via Correos to the Royal Mail, have been hit with long delays in international delivery, due to COVID-19.

“We are working with our airline and postal/courier partners across the globe to maintain services, however delays should be expected,” said a spokesperson from the Royal Mail.

“Many countries have implemented special measures to combat the spread of Coronavirus COVID-19, especially for signature service to maintain social distancing.

“The number of countries that we can access is changing daily. Most major export routes remain open, and we continue to accept and process mail, although customers may experience varying levels of delay.

“We recommend that you try and post early when sending gifts and care packages for Christmas,” added the spokesperson.

In March 2020, at the outset of COVID-19, the status of Alert in Spain and Spanish territories was extended to 11 April 2020. Also, international flights had been suspended with dispatches temporarily moved to road services to maintain mail flow, that resulted in extended transit times.

Correos, the Spanish postal operators, implemented special measures in order to reduce the risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Royal Mail announced customers should expect delays and also reduced tracking and signature capture. Correos applied strict ad-hoc measures in line with government instructions, in order to minimise human contact.

Correos also significantly reduced the workforce deployed in the logistics chain, with regard to both sorting and delivery.

In September 2020 Correos advised they continued to experience problems with capacity, frequency and regularity of international flights, due to the COVID-19 situation.

The force majeure situation previously declared remained in force, which continued to have a major impact on operations.

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As a result, the Royal Mail said they cannot guarantee the quality of service for all inbound and outbound mail.

Correos Spain advised in October 2020, the Spanish Government had extended the state of emergency first declared on 14 March 2020, until 9 May 2021.

Due to the ongoing crisis, the continuing capacity and frequency problems with international flights, Force Majeure remains in force, and continues to impact mail processing and delivery.

The Leader has been informed that many ex-pats that had sent Christmas gifts and cards from Spain to the UK had not been received, sent up to a month ago.

The postal delays have been mirrored by parcels and cards posted from the UK to Spain having not been received.

“There are significant delays to a number of countries right now, due to a lack of available transport links and suspension of certain country’s postal operations.

“We strongly advise not to send items to destinations listed as ‘On suspension’,” said a Royal Mail spokesperson. *On suspension list updates are on Royal Mail website.

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