The UPU recognizes that the safety and security of the postal sector as part of the global supply chain is critical to supporting worldwide commerce and communication. To facilitate the development and implementation of security standards and best practices among Posts, the UPU has established the Postal Security Group (PSG).
Postal Security Group
Guided by the motto “Postal Security Makes Business Sense”, the Group, made up of security experts, is charged with the development of global and regional security strategies to assist the world’s Posts in their security missions.
Through training initiatives, consultation missions and prevention programmes, the PSG strives to protect the employees, customers and assets of Posts, and to safeguard mails from fraud, theft and misuse.
To establish worldwide postal security, encourage and promote the creation of postal security services in all UPU member countries, and to establish contact and collaborate with international organizations.
- Prevention of injuries to people due to the carriage of dangerous goods in the mail
- Prevention of loss or theft of mail entrusted to Posts
- Prevention of revenue or asset losses by Posts
- Preservation of customer confidence in the Posts
PSG security programs and crime prevention training are the mainstay in the development of worldwide postal security units. Security courses are organized regionally with the assistance of the UPU. Training covers:
- Basic postal security and investigations
- Emergency Planning and Risk Assessment
- Airport security coordination and quality of service/security reviews
- Countering of drug trafficking and money laundering through the post
- Procedures for accepting and controlling the induction of dangerous goods
- International postal revenue protection
Postal Security Group
ICAO-UPU Contact Committee
Information Technology Security Experts Panel (ITSEP)
Transport by post of equipment containing lithium batteries (ECLB)
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) amended the 2013–2014 edition of the Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air to allow such transport from 1 January 2013.
Given the dangers that lithium batteries pose to air transport, designated operators wishing to transport ECLB need to fulfill 2 conditions:
- Have procedures and training for controlling the acceptance of mail items containing dangerous goods destined for air transport
- Obtain specific approval from their national civil aviation authority prior to accepting and transporting ECLB
List of authorized designated operators
Since designated operators, national aviation authorities and airlines need to know which Posts have been approved to make ECLB shipments so that they can plan the handling of such shipments, the UPU provides a list of designated operators that have been authorized to ship ECLB, the dates from which they have been authorized to make these shipments, and other related information.
The list is shared with ICAO and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) so that national authorities and airlines are kept fully informed about Posts authorized to ship ECLB. Posts that have received such authorization are requested to communicate this fact to the International Bureau by filling in the relevant form and e-mailing it.
Reporting of dangerous goods incidents and accidents to civil aviation authorities and the UPU
The training material has been developed in cooperation with ICAO, IATA and several civil aviation administrations (CAA).
The material provides a good base for dangerous goods training in Posts and conforms with the requirements of the Table 1-6 in the ICAO Technical Instructions and the training competencies.
National Posts should meet with their respective CAA or national authority to establish an agreement on the necessary level of training.
Postal security prohibited items
The safety of postal employees and customers is a critical element of managing the entire postal supply chain. That’s why a number of goods and items are prohibited from travelling through the mail.
UPU letter-post and parcel regulations clearly stipulate the type of items that cannot be sent by post internationally. Posts inform customers of these prohibited items, but the onus is on customers to certify that the packages and mail items they send through the mail do not contain items that could cause harm or danger to postal employees and customers.
The list of prohibited goods includes illicit drugs, counterfeit or pirated articles and explosive or flammable goods and live animals, among many other things.
In some exceptional cases, Posts can transport live animals such as bees, leeches, silk worms and fruit flies between officially recognized institutions for purposes of control and biomedical research.
If customers are unsure about what can and cannot be sent through the mail, they should consult their local Post.
More information on prohibited items may be located in the Customs section.
Postal security standards
One of the objectives of the Postal Security Group (PSG) is to enhance the security of all operations within the postal sector. The PSG in collaboration with other UPU stakeholders has defined a minimum set of security requirements, which can be applied to all facets of the sector.
Developing measurable standards of security for the postal sector contributes to protecting postal employees and assets; protecting postal items in general; contributing to the security of the mode of transport used to carry mail items and protecting the overall supply chain.
Physical and procedural security standards
The physical and procedural security standards developed under the auspices of the PSG are applicable to critical facilities in the postal network:
S582/19/2020General security measures defining the minimum physical and process security requirements applicable to critical facilities within the postal network
S592/19/2020Office of exchange and international airmail security defining minimum requirements for secure operations relating to the transport of international mail
Reporting of detained mail
The Transport Group is collecting data from designated operators on alarm incidents, in coordination with the Postal Security Group and the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
An "alarm incident" triggering an "alarm resolution procedure" can occur during the handling of dangerous goods or prohibited, inadmissible or wrongly admitted items. Alarm incidents may be discovered by air carriers, airport authorities, or designated operators.
Designated operators (as well as air carriers and airport authorities on the IATA side) are asked to complete the document and e-mail it to: upu.alarm(at)upu.int. Any designated operators with questions or requiring assistance can contact the International Bureau at the above email.
The SharePoint provides members with updates and information relative to security in the postal supply chain.