German post considers raising postage charges

Deutsche Post, Germany's state-run postal service, is considering raising its postage charges to compensate its workers for planned cuts, it was reported Saturday.

German post considers raising postage charges
Photo: DPA

Company boss Frank Appel is hoping to convince politicians that Deutsche Post needs to raise its charges to compete with the private sector, even though the conditions for an increase have not been met.

According to regulations, the company is only allowed to raise its fees when inflation is strong. But Appel told Berliner Zeitung newspaper that politicians should consider postal charges “more flexibly, and in line with actual market forces.” A review of the current charges is scheduled for 2012.

The cost of sending a standard letter has not been raised in Germany for 13 years, and was actually lowered to 55 cents in 2003. But Deutsche Post has already called for an annual inflation-adjusted re-assessment of postage charges.

Appel argued that the current regulation only made sense in an era when the volume of post was constantly rising. This is no longer the case. “Nowadays the postman only puts one letter in the box, when before he put two. That costs us money,” he said.

Appel also said that Deutsche Post’s legal obligation to deliver mail six days a week was only of limited value for the customer. “Things that are posted on Friday, we deliver on Saturday, while private companies don’t deliver at the weekend,” he told the newspaper. But he added that there were no plans to cut back delivery schedules to five days a week.

Deutsche Post chairman Jürgen Gerdes is currently travelling around the country girding the company’s 143,000 employees to the projected cutbacks. “We face huge challenges, and we have to put a brake on our expenses,” Gerdes told news magazine Focus.

The company is currently preparing a cost-cutting package meant to keep its profits at over €1 billion per year for the foreseeable future.

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‘A new generation of stamps’: Deutsche Post rolls out QR-style tracking codes

German stamps will soon be kitted out with individual matrix codes to help stop letters getting lost in the mail, national postal company Deutsche Post said Tuesday.

'A new generation of stamps': Deutsche Post rolls out QR-style tracking codes
The new stamp reading 'digital change' and with a QR tracking code. Photo: DPA

Customers will be able to use the codes to track when a letter has arrived in the local processing centre and when it has reached its destination region, Deutsche Post said.

The codes, which are similar to QR codes, will sit alongside the traditional images in what will be “a new generation of stamps”, according to the company.

READ ALSO: How sending parcels in Germany changed in January 2021

“Stamps with matrix codes make our service even more reliable — and the stamps more interesting,” said Tobias Meyer, head of the company's German post and parcel division.

The first stamps featuring the codes will be rolled out from Thursday, with more to follow later in the year.

By 2022, they will be featured on all German stamps.

However, the codes do not allow for full parcel-style tracking and they will not tell customers whether a letter has actually been delivered.

DHL owner Deutsche Post reported record results in January as the pandemic fuels a package boom spurred by online shopping.

Revenues climbed five percent year-on-year to 66.8, buoyed by strong performances from the parcels and express units.