- For the first time in 15 years, slight increase planned for standard letters
- Mail Board Member Juergen Gerdes: Safeguarding high quality and social standards makes rate adjustment necessary
Deutsche Post submitted its annual request to the Federal Network Agency today for approval of mail prices for the coming year. The request includes a plan to increase the price for a standard domestic letter (up to 20 grams) from the current EUR0.55 to EUR0.58 starting January 1, 2013.
After an increase in rates in 1997 and a rate decrease in 2003, it will be the first time in fifteen years that an adjustment was necessary due to general cost trends. In addition, the rate for a domestic Maxibrief (up to 1,000 grams) is expected to rise from EUR2.20 to EUR2.40. Rates for Kompaktbrief, Großbrief and postcards will stay the same. The request is based on a legally regulated procedure for pricing of certain mail products.
Jürgen Gerdes, Management Board Member responsible for Mail at Deutsche Post DHL doesn’t see an alternative to the rate increase in a changing economic environment: “For years now, we have been the only company to provide basic, nationwide postal services to everyone in the country six days a week. The quality we provide serves as a benchmark even at the international level. At the same time we provide our employees with secure jobs, highly competitive salaries and employment benefits, and despite a reduction in mail volumes while continuing to increase salaries, we have continuously been able to improve our productivity. If we want to continue to ensure this level of quality for our customers and to secure attractive jobs for our employees, we cannot forgo a moderate rate increase.”
Customer Barometer 2012: 96 percent of those surveyed are satisfied
The outstanding quality delivered by Deutsche Post compared to other major service sectors was recently confirmed by the results of an independent long-term study conducted by “Customer Barometer 2012”. According to the study, 96 percent of those surveyed are satisfied, very satisfied or completely satisfied with their letter mail services. This is a larger increase compared to last year and, in overall satisfaction, represents the biggest increase in all of the industries surveyed. A long-term comparison reveals that 2003 was the last time any of the industries surveyed were able to improve as much as Deutsche Post’s letter mail services and retail outlets, which improved compared to the previous year in customer evaluations.
As an employer, Deutsche Post provides 180,000 employees in the letter and parcel divisions alone in Germany higher salary levels and better employee benefits than their competitors. A long-term employment pact between management and labor ensures protection against dismissals due to business conditions, and a Generations Pact – exemplary even across industries – facilitates a forward-looking policy for age-based career solutions. The company is seeking to continue to ensure these pacts.
The planned rate hike – an average of 2.8 percent for all affected products – will only have a minimal impact on private households, whose monthly expenditures for mail services have been declining for years, and as recently as 2009 amounted to just EUR3.32, which would mean the additional monthly cost would amount to an average of EUR0.09 per household.
Even after the proposed increase, the price for a standard letter sent within Germany would remain in the mid-range compared to other European countries.
Supplemental stamps will of course be available for sale
Moreover, an annual European price comparison shows that postage for a standard letter sent within Germany – adjusted for inflation between 2001 and 2011 – decreased by almost 17 percent, while the average rate for letter mail in other European countries increased 31 percent during the same period.
In addition to the changes to letter prices, rate increases are also expected for books and merchandise as well as for international shipping. Here, for instance, the price of an international Kompaktbrief weighing up to 50 grams would increase from EUR1.45 to EUR1.50. On the other hand, the price of an international standard letter weighing up to 20 grams would remain the same. The product Infobrief – for mailing a minimum of 50 letter items containing identical contents – will be discontinued due to changing business conditions resulting from the implementation of the VAT tax as well as a directive by the Federal Network Agency.
In order to give customers enough time to prepare for the change, information about the pricing measures will be sent out early. This will allow time enough for stocks of stamps to be used prior to the rate change. For remaining unused stamp stocks, supplemental stamps will of course be available for sale well in advance at Deutsche Post retail outlets and online. This will allow stamp stocks to be used even after the new year. It is not necessary to return them for exchange.