While German postage costs remain comparatively cheaper than many of the country’s European neighbours, rising postage costs have become an increasingly controversial issue in recent months.
The postage stamp set to get more expensive
Reports in February said that the standard postage cost may increase by five or possibly ten cents from the current 70 cents. But recent indications are that the increase could be up to 20 cents – or roughly 30 percent.
This would render the cost of sending cards, letters or postcards within Germany to the same level as international mail. Currently, sending cards to worldwide destinations costs 90 cents, although with rising domestic postage costs, a similar increase in international prices would be expected.
The last price hike to the cost of domestic postage took place in 2016, with stamp prices increasing from 62 to the current 70 cents. At the time it was the largest increase since German reunification.
The historically low prices have in part facilitated a strong manufacturing and export sector.
The prices for postage are set by a federal agency, although the Deutsche Post itself is a largely privatized entity. The government only holds a 20 percent share in the national postal service.
The decision as to the cost will be made by the responsible government agency in May, with costs to the general public to increase from July 2019 onwards. Costs for businesses would not increase until 2020.
Four times the previous cost
As reported by The Local in February, postage costs increased by up to 400 percent in some instances From April 1st.
Package prices rose sharply, particularly for international postage. Costs for sending packages to the US increased four fold.
The costs associated with sending small packages was also subject to a considerable increase as it became no longer possible to send CDs or DVDs at the original letter price.
Previously, letters containing CDs or DVDs could be sent at the cost of a card or postcard.
The hidden cost of email
As reported in RP Online, the main reason for the sudden increase is primarily the popularity of electronic communications.
Swiss Post told RP Online that there were fewer and fewer letters being sent, leading to a decrease in revenue for post operators.
In recent years, the amount of letters sent annually has decreased by roughly two to three percent.
Politicians at loggerheads over the way forward
The current proposal – which could see an increase of 20 cents per domestic letter – has been criticized by politicians. Pascal Meiser, from The Left (Die Linke), has argued that it represents the government favouring private interests over that of the general public.
Conversely, the FDP’s Reinhard Houben has called for the government to fully privatize the service to improve its efficiency.