International Civil Aviation Organization–World Customs Organization Conference

Speech by UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein, Bahrain, 16 - 17 April 2014

I am happy to join you in this second ICAO-WCO Joint Conference on Enhancing Air Cargo Security and Facilitation. I commend the organisers of this conference for its relevance and timeliness and endorse the theme that seeks collaborative solutions to our common challenges. The UPU represents 192 postal organisations and the largest logistic and physical distribution network in the world.

I have come here today to reinforce the cooperation that exists between UPU, WCO and ICAO and take part in the quest for solutions that will enhance our collective goals. ICAO and WCO are two important strategic partners of the world’s postal community that help facilitate transportation and global exchange of postal items.

The missions of the three organisations reveal similarities in our desire for provision of secure, reliable and quality service to citizens of the world. We all share common views on efficiency of our networks, facilitation of international trade and commerce, fight against illicit traffic and dangerous goods. We share the same concerns on security and safety. It, therefore, goes without saying that our organisations are bound to seek solutions that meet our collective needs and the expectations of our customers. In this context, you can count on the UPU as your valued partner.

I bring with me the firm commitment and willingness of the international postal community to collaborate with WCO, ICAO and IATA, and all border agencies in ensuring the security and safety of the items inserted into our networks.

The UPU takes safety and security seriously, and has made legal provisions in its conventions in this regard. It has also developed security standards and made them mandatory for its members from 2014 onwards. These standards were developed in collaboration with the WCO and ICAO.

I reaffirm UPU’s collaboration on the development of common principles, processes, standards, and technologies that will enable advance information and data interchange between key stakeholders. UPU is aware of the requirements of customs, airlines, and border security agencies and fully supports the exchange of advanced electronic information that will enhance security. We are now working with ICAO to implement a system that will enable risk-assessment of postal items before shipment.

UPU is concerned with the improvement of the efficiency of the supply chain. I wish to call on all our partners to treat the postal items with utmost care and speed so that we can deliver our promise to our customers.

I urge customs and postal authorities to forge closer cooperation at national levels in order to fast-track the processing of postal parcels, packets, and mail.

Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya, in your keynote address at the e-commerce forum that was held by UPU three weeks ago, you reminded the world’s postal community that the booming e-commerce business was going to be the game changer for the Post.

You also cautioned that the huge increase in the delivery of small parcels and packets will pose both challenges and opportunities for postal services and Customs. I can only confirm your statement.

We have witnessed the phenomenal growth of e-commerce business in Europe, Asia, North and South American corridors. E-commerce in Africa and the Arab countries are also picking up pace.

The good news is that some of the major players in the e-commerce business are soon expected to partner with Posts to take advantage of our unparalleled networks and reach.

However, this will be dependent on efficiency of the supply chain in which you play critical links. We need your invaluable support.

I know that more still needs to be done to improve the interface between Posts, ICAO and Customs.

We need to work as a team, build together the necessary capacities (human, technical, and financial), and face our common challenges with confidence and clarity of purpose.

Together we can innovate, integrate, and ensure inclusiveness that will make trade and communication efficient, reliable, secure, and universally accessible to all.

Thank you for your attention.