German postal act reform means letters will arrive less frequently

German postal act reform means letters will arrive less frequently

A reform to Germany’s Postal Act was passed by parliament last week, marking the first major change to the country’s postal system since 1997. Going forward customers can expect letters to arrive a couple days later. Reports The Local.

Long discussed changes to Germany’s Postal Act were approved by the Bundestag on Thursday 13 June.

The reform, which passed with votes from the traffic light coalition parties, is meant to reduce costs and save resources by scrapping outdated time constraints for letter deliveries. Practically, for customers, it means that letters will arrive more slowly in the future.

Discussions around the Postal Act reform have dragged on since Deutsche Post proposed plans for a new system last year.

The new rules take into account the fact that letters hardly play a role in everyday communication anymore – instead, most citizens use emails.

The last major reform of the Postal Act was passed in 1997. “At that time, Netflix was founded and it still sent its DVDs by post,” said Hansjörg Durz, a member of the Bundestag for the CSU.

In the plenary vote, the traffic light parliamentary groups voted in favour of the legislative proposal and the CDU/CSU and the AfD voted against, while the Left Party group abstained.

Only the approval of the Bundesrat is still pending, which will be voted on in July.

How much slower will letters arrive?

According to the current law, Deutsche Post must deliver 80 percent of the letters posted by the next working day and 95 percent by the second.

The reform will scrap the next day requirement, and instead enforce a 95 percent delivery requirement by the third working day after a letter was sent.

This is intended to help Deutsche Post save costs, and also allows neighbouring Swiss Post to dispense with aircraft for letter transport.

Price of stamps to increase

The law provides the framework for an increase to the price of postage, which is to come in January 2025.

Exactly how much postal rates will rise is not yet known. It will be determined by the Federal Network Agency.

The domestic delivery of a standard letter, which currently costs 85 cents, may rise to a maximum price of one euro, according to the reform bill.

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