Postal administration

Postal Administration is an umbrella term used to collectively characterize all the functional entities within a country that participate in the regulation and operation of domestic and international postal services. The term is widely used in diplomatic documents and international conventions and treaties that establish relationships between countries involving postal services. The Universal Postal Union (UPU), established in 1874 by the Treaty of Bern and is now a specialized agency in the United Nations, is the international organization that coordinates postal operations between member nations. Each UPU member nation agrees to operate its "Postal Administration" according to a common, international set of rules for international postal services. Within the UPU conventions the term "Postal Administration" is used to identify a country that provides international postal services. Below is treaty language from the 1906 UPU treaty.

The postal administrations of contiguous countries, or countries able to correspond directly with each other without availing themselves of the services of a third administration, determine by common consent, the conditions of the conveyance of mails which they exchange across the frontier or from one frontier to the other. [cite book |last=Bridgeman |first=Raymond L. |title=The First Book of World Law-A compilation of International Conventions to which the principal nations are signatory with a survey of their significance |publisher=Gin and Company |location=Boston |year=1911 |url=]

Generally, members of the UPU refer to themselves and other nations as "Postal Administrations" when establishing bi-lateral postal relationships. The following is example language from a bi-lateral postal agreement between the United States and Bulgaria.

Administration - an abbreviated form used to refer to one of the postal administrations agreeing to this Memorandum of Understanding. Each postal administration offers its customers a basic INTELPOST service. This service consists of the electronic transmission of messages or documents (whether in physical or abstract form) and their physical delivery by the administration of destination either across the counter at a handling office of INTELPOST Service or in accordance with such procedures for the delivery of international or domestic letter post items as may be established by the administration of destination. [ [ Memorandum Of Understanding Between The United States Postal Service And The Postal Administration Of The People's Republic Of Bulgaria Concerning The Operation of The Intelpost Service] ]

Also while the United Nations is not itself a "nation" it does in fact have its own postal administration that operates a limited (mostly philatelic) postal service of its own under the guidelines of the UPU.

There are essentially two primary functions of "Postal Administrations." Within any given nation, these functions may be carried out by a single government entity or spread out amongst multiple government, quasi-government or private entities [ [ "Status and Structures of Postal Administrations"] ] . The UPU document: "Status and Structures of Postal Administrations" identifies the Postal Operator and "Postal Regulator" for all of its 191 member nations. A few illustrative examples are listed below.

* Postal Regulation—Postal regulation involves the establishment of postal policies, postal rates, postal services offered, budgeting for and financing postal operations.
** Ireland: Department for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources and the Commission for Communications Regulation.
** United States: Postal Regulatory Commission
** Japan: The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC).

* Postal Operations—Postal operations involve the execution of domestic and international postal services to include the receipt, transportation and delivery of authorized classes of mail, specialized mailing services, the operation of postal facilities, the sale of postage, philatelic materials and mailing supplies, postal security, and the investigation of postal crime.
** Ireland: An Post
** United States: United States Postal Service
** Japan: Japan Post (Now Japan Post Holdings)


There are, however, different types of postal authority and stamps have been issued by:
*national governments;
*city, state, territorial, provincial or colonial authorities;
*groups of countries with common issues under a combined postal authority;
*occupation forces;
*foreign post offices;
*revolutionary regimes;
*international organisations.


* [ "List of the World's Postal Administrations" Universal Postal Union]
* Stanley Gibbons Ltd: various catalogues
* [ Encyclopaedia of Postal Authorities]
* cite book
last =
first =
author = Stuart Rossiter & John Fowler
authorlink =
title = World History Stamp Atlas
publisher = pub: Black Cat
year = 1991 reprint
doi =
id = ISBN 0-7481-0309-0


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