Brazilian Post Office Expects to Consume 461 Million RFID Tags by 2021

The RFID postal modernization project, initiated in Brazil with the support of a specialized agency of the United Nations, foresees the mass use of RFID by 2020.
Published: August 17, 2018

According to official forecasts from the Correios (the Brazilian Post Office), the agency will require 461 million RFID tags of various formats, sizes and applications, representing a significant business opportunity for technology suppliers in the country, thanks to an international agreement to track letters and orders worldwide via UHF RFID tags. The demand for the deployment was presented last month to Brazilian suppliers of RFID tags at GS1 Brazil, whose standardization will be used in the system.

Brazil is the starting point for a project to improve processes and offer new postal services around the world based on the use of radio frequency identification technology. Under the baton of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a specialized agency of the United Nations that coordinates postal policies among member countries, the postal service is implementing the use of smart labels on correspondence and product boxes. The increasing demand for e-commerce has increased the volume of this type of delivery.

The post office and the UPU began implementing the third stage of the Global Monitoring System (GMS) project, which provides for the expansion of the use of RFID technology in the tracking of international and national mail-flow objects. According to the post office, close to 15 percent of the volume of tags mentioned above will be necessary in 2019 to enable the adoption of the technology. By 2020, the forecast is that 60 percent of this volume will be reached, and in 2021, the operation will reach 100 percent.

At present, the post office intends to speed up the project and increase its transparency by obtaining technical subsidies from the market and thus enable the development of the specification of passive UHF RFID tags to be used in postal items, pouches, crates and containers. The GS1 event sought to identify the usual production capacity and forms of supply in the Brazilian market, as well as commercial practices, such as delivery times, minimum lots, supply units, certifications, costs, customizations and restrictions, among other aspects.

Interested parties should send proposals, information, suggestions and requests for clarifications by email to, a channel designed to optimize communication with the market for the purpose of meeting the project’s demands.

Among the issues raised by the Brazilian Post Office are the company’s supply line, production structure and the origin of the inputs; tag certification, including performance and compatibility; numbering control, including bar codes and RFID; self-adhesive labels on flat sheets or rolls; customization of paper labels; the possibility of supplying unitizers with pre-recorded tags, or the application of tags on unitizers; quality-control methodology; minimum lots; and deadlines.

Correios was chosen to start the future global Internet of Things (IoT) system based on RFID technology, which in a few years is expected be a global letter and parcel distribution machine. The project will be one of the largest RFID cases in the world, demanding a huge amount of tags, readers and systems.

The Brazilian Post Office was chosen because it operates in a giant territory that has the benefit of a total standardization of processes, besides having no language barriers or taxes. The UPU, founded in Switzerland in 1874 to establish a single postal territory for the reciprocal exchange of letter-post items, intends to adopt the new system in the 192 member countries after its deployment in Brazil.

The specialized agency, which became part of the UN in 1948, will provide its member countries with the necessary RFID equipment, which basically consists of an RFID reader, a power source and an antenna. Additional RF antennas can be connected to the main unit. It is anticipated that these components will be offered separately in a modular kit, or be integrated into a compact structure to be installed, depending on the postal scenario.