THE Post Office distributed a total of 132'963'284 items of mail in the Balearics during the course of 2003. Of this figure, 11'989'680 were despatched during the month of December due to Christmas greetings and gifts being sent to celebrate the holiday period. Post Office sources confirmed yesterday that the nearly 133 million items processed last year represented a 4.2 percent increase over and above 2002. Of this total, more than 98.7 million were basic communications in the form of letters and postcards; 33.5 million were reduced tariff postal items (packets, printed paper, etc); and some 700'000 required urgent handling. Of the 133 million processed deliveries, 5'817'318 were sent by registered post (where the recipient signs to confirm safe delivery), a figure which confirms the growing tendency to use this method of sending. From 122.9 million items distributed in 2000, the figure rose to 124.3 million in 2001, and 127.5 million in 2002. The Post Office point out that nearly 12 million postings were processed during the month of December, a time when the State-run organisation gears itself to coping with the Christmas overload. This statistic represents an increase of 6 percent with respect to the same period last year. The busiest days in December 2003, when the Post Office registered the greatest distribution activity, were Thursday, 18 December, Friday 19th, and Monday 29th December when more than 30 million mailings were made throughout the country. Additionally, another of the Post Office's planned extra Christmas deliveries was made on Saturday 20th December, with the aid of 25'500 postmen (812 in the Balearics). On this occasion, the State organisation succeeded in processing and delivering 24'460'000 items of mail. Throughout Spain, the postal volume for the last month of the year in 2003 reached 524 million, 6.2 percent more than on the same date in 2002.
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