Post fails with application for letter postage increase


Updated on 07/08/2023 09:58

For a good year and a half, sending a standard letter has cost 85 cents. Will the price go up soon? The post office had such plans, but has now been rebuffed by a Bonn authority.

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Deutsche Post is not allowed to increase letter postage prematurely. The Federal Network Agency announced on Monday in Bonn that a corresponding application had been rejected. The group submitted the letter in May in order to be able to increase the postage as early as 2024, a year earlier than planned.

The Post justified the application in May with higher costs, for example for staff and energy. However, after examining the data submitted, the regulatory authority announced that Swiss Post had not adequately demonstrated the cost increases. In addition, Bundesnetzagentur boss Klaus Müller pointed out that the company was making profits in the mail sector. The group, which is called DHL and only appears in the national mail business as Deutsche Post, can appeal the decision.

Federal Network Agency must agree to price increase

The postage usually increases every three years. In 2012, a standard domestic letter cost 55 cents, today it is 85 cents. The last increase was in January 2022 by 5 cents, other types of shipment also became more expensive. The company is not allowed to change the postage on its own, but is dependent on the approval of the Federal Network Agency.

The postage, for which the regulator is responsible, applies to consignments that have been dropped into mailboxes or handed over to branches, i.e. primarily by private customers. The prices for business mail – whether advertising or insurance letters – are freely negotiable.

Less and less letters

In the Internet age, the volume of letters has been falling for years because people are increasingly relying on digital communication. In 2017, according to figures from the Federal Network Agency, the post office in Germany transported 12.9 billion items in the mail sector, five years later it was only 10 billion – a minus of 22 percent.

Because the volume of shipments is shrinking, the cost pressure on transport and delivery is increasing. Therefore, Swiss Post is allowed to regularly turn the price screw, most recently in January 2022 with validity until the end of 2024. In its application in May, Swiss Post described an early increase as “absolutely necessary”. There was “no way around it,” the company said at the time.

Now the Bonn authority is putting a spanner in the works for the group. According to their calculations, which were made on the basis of the Swiss Post application, the unit costs are even slightly below the forecast for 2021. The regulatory authority cannot understand the significant upward deviations determined by Swiss Post. (dpa/lag)

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