It’s been a hectic month for Lorraine Pace, 34, from Marsascala, a postwoman for the last 14 years. Every day she walks an average of three hours and together with two other postmen covers all the streets of Marsa.

“I love this job because you get to meet people all the time and you build a strong rapport with some of them,” Ms Pace said.

When Times of Malta joined her on the beat, several of those she handed letters to stopped to greet her warmly and some even pressed a little gift in her hands. It is a long trek and, unlike other postmen, she opts not to use the work motorbikes as the houses she delivers to are all located next to each other.

350 postmen cover 211 routes delivering a total of 750,000 to one million items every week

“It is mostly postmen in rural areas like Dingli where you have houses that are far apart who use the bikes to save on very lengthy walks,” Pierre Montebello, Maltapost chief operation officer, said.

Most postmen only set out with half the letters and packets due for delivery – for health and safety reasons their load is set at a maximum of 10 kilograms. Office messengers deposit the rest in depository boxes along the route, which postmen can pick up on the way.

Each beat is calculated on an average of the distance covered and the number of households, and usually each postman is familiar with three routes.

A postman’s day starts at 7am and usually ends at about 1pm but days are longer at Christmastime due to the huge volume, where up to 400,000 items are delivered every day.

The numbers speak for themselves: 350 postmen cover 211 routes – 160,000 households – delivering a total of 750,000 to one million items every week.

The popularity of letters is on the decline – although the central mailroom has seen a 30 per cent increase in e-commerce – but at Christmastime there is always a surge in the number of cards posted.

“Packets ordered online used to be more popular in the Sliema and St Julian’s area but now we are delivering them everywhere,” Mr Montebello said.

There is a strong feeling of camaraderie in the mailroom and at the end of each year there is a competition for the best hub, based on the quality of service, the number of complaints and overall performance.

“Usually it’s the Gozo hub which wins it – but to be fair to the others, they have the most experienced postmen with them,” Mr Montebello said.

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