Services: Swiss Post has problems fulfilling the branch network obligation

Deutsche Post still has slightly too few post offices in rural areas.

Services: Swiss Post has problems fulfilling the branch network obligation

Deutsche Post still has slightly too few post offices in rural areas. As can be seen from a letter from the Federal Network Agency to its advisory board, the supervisory authority was aware of 174 locations in Germany at the end of January that were not manned despite a government regulation.

According to the network agency, there were 140 at the end of December – according to the figures, the problem has worsened. In relation to the 12,000 mandatory locations that the post office must have nationwide, the deficits are small - the post office has a branch in almost 99 percent of the locations. The letter from the authorities is available to the dpa.

According to an ordinance, there must be at least one branch in every municipality with more than 2000 inhabitants. From 4000 inhabitants, a branch in connected residential areas may not be further away than two kilometers. The federal government is currently preparing a reform of the completely outdated law - then the specifications for the branch network could also be changed. In most cases, post offices mean retailers who also have a post office counter, such as supermarkets or kiosks.

There will be temporary holidays

The Bonn-based group emphasizes that the topic of branch supply is very important to it and that it covers around 99 percent of the mandatory locations - "especially in rural areas," says a company spokesman. "Due to short-term cancellations by branch partners, there may still be temporary vacancies." One is in the process of setting up new branches at the relevant locations. Often, however, it is "regulatory requirements that restrict the options for opening a branch quickly".

Around 20 vacancies have been filled since January. "In the same period, however, new vacancies have arisen - also because we are seeing a higher number of business closures in the retail sector that is relevant to us this year." A fluctuation in branch vacancies during the year is not unusual, since business closures are not evenly distributed over the year. In fact, the post office is struggling with structural change in rural areas: If the only supermarket in a village that has a post office closes, there may be no other local retailer left as an alternative.

Most of the locations where there is no post office despite being required to do so are in the countryside. According to the network agency, at the end of December there was one branch each in Schwanebeck (Saxony-Anhalt), Wittendörp (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), Hoisdorf (Schleswig-Holstein), Asendorf (Lower Saxony), Reken (NRW), Vettelschoß (Rhineland-Palatinate) and Fernwald (Hesse), Kyffhäuserland (Thuringia), Glatten, Aach (both Baden-Württemberg), Petersaurach and Döhlau (both Bavaria).

The letter from the network agency to its advisory board states that the further development of the supply of post offices will be "closely followed". At the same time, however, the authority points out that their options for remedying the situation are limited. In order to improve the "supervisory tools", "an adjustment of the law would be necessary".