Ireland’s largest independent delivery company, Nightline, has unveiled plans to offer a postal service for the country’s business community. Nightline’s CEO, John Tuohy, has revealed that his company has created a new division, Eirpost, specifically to manage the service.

His announcement comes days before Ireland’s postal system is set to be liberalised.

Tuohy said Eirpost would provide second-class post for thousands of Irish SMEs which were eager to secure for cheaper postal tariffs and collection charges.

He added that instead of posing a challenge to An Post, Nightline was committed to tying up a partnership with the state postal service under a so-called “downstream access” agreement to retain and enhance what was currently available.

Tuohy stressed that the Eirpost proposition promised “distinct knock-on benefits” for the print, paper and packaging industries.

“Like so many Irish companies, Nightline relies on a viable postal network. We think what we’re proposing will allow everyone to capitalise on the opportunities that liberalisation presents to reinforce and improve upon An Post’s inherent virtues.

“It is a fact that a reduction in the number of small and medium-sized businesses not using post decreases the revenues generated for the Irish economy as well as impacting on those companies’ operations – and that in a country which already has one of the lowest volumes for post anywhere in the EU.

“We already have a very efficient infrastructure for delivering parcels right across Ireland. We are confident that we can use that to provide business with an even more cost-effective postal service, create sustainable jobs and increase postal volumes and revenues for the Irish economy.”

The creation of Eirpost is the latest stage in the evolution of Nightline, which was founded in 1992. It means the setting up of Nightline Logistics Group which will oversee the operations of Eirpost, carrier Nightline Delivers and its UK division, Nightline UK.

Kevin Murray has been appointed Eirpost’s managing director. Murray has extensive experience in the paper and mail sectors and has developed a special interest in European postal liberalisation.

Murray and Tuohy believe that the shake-up of the country’s postal service presents “huge opportunities” to enhance provision to both Irish households and businesses. Postal liberalisation was due to take effect across the EU from 1 January.

Enabling legislation – the Postal Services Bill – was not presented to the Irish Seanad until the start of December, meaning that full implementation will not take place until after it has been debated by the Dail in mid-January.

The Bill allows for private companies to gain access to the postal network in the manner envisaged by Nightline.

Tuohy said the Eirpost approach was best summed up by its intention to “offer value and make the process simple”.

“Small and medium-sized companies including those involved in the Direct Mail industry, currently find themselves either not using the post or paying full postal tariffs. Those that choose the latter don’t get the bulk discounts which larger firms receive because of the sheer volume of post they generate.

“They also have to contend with pre-paying for a bewildering array of tariffs for the different sizes of items which they post and a €2,000 charge for having their mail collected.

“We believe they will respond favourably to a much simpler and ultimately cheaper system,” Tuohy added.

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