FRUSTRATING delays in the arrival of a letter or parcel could soon be at an end after the Spanish post office introduced a revolutionary new electronic tagging system.
The first of its kind in Europe, Correos (the Spanish post office) has attached tags on certain letters and parcels to ensure they reach their recipients.
The tags, which are contained under small stickers, emit radio signals. Scanners in sorting officers throughout the country can then monitor the mail’s progress. Correos handles more than 5 billion letters and parcels per year.
In a test run for the scheme, 10,000 letters will be tagged and electronically tracked.
The Spanish post office has spent more than one million euros installing almost 2,000 antennae and 330 tag
readers in 16 sorting offices in Spain.
A spokesman for Correos said: “The system allows us to keep control of mail processing automatically and lets us
detect bottlenecks in the system and solve them as they happen.”
However, some have suggested the tagging system is being used to monitor what is being posted.
The French and German post offices have shown an interest in the scheme.
But some critics have suggested putting chips on mail is another way to monitor what individuals are sending in the post.
In an effort to dispel these concerns, Correos stressed no personal information about the sender or the recipient is exchanged. The Spanish Data Protection Agency said the post office is entitled to use the information on all mail to send letters and parcels, so use of the chip did not break any law.
French and Dutch post office representatives have already expressed an interest in the service. But so far, the Royal Mail has not been in touch.