Federal Council wants more flexible mail delivery and no longer to every home

The Federal Council wants to loosen the reins a little on Swiss Post. In future, it will only have to deliver 90 percent of letters and parcels on time. The obligation to deliver mail to every house that is inhabited all year round is also to be dropped.

(Symbolic image: Swiss Post)

This should save Swiss Post up to CHF 45 million a year from 2026. As Swiss Post Minister Albert Rösti told the federal media on Friday, the financing of the universal service is thus secured for the time being.

This should allow Swiss Post to continue to provide the public service on its own. Rösti also wants to ensure the basic service without subsidies in the long term.

In the planned revision of the ordinance, the Federal Council is responding to the challenges facing Swiss Post with a minor reform. Later on, it intends to redefine the universal service in a revision of the Postal Act.

His proposal on Friday sets out the direction for a consultation draft on the revision of the Postal Ordinance. The Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) is to prepare this by the end of February 2025.

Reductions in punctuality ...

For households, the revision of the ordinance means that Swiss Post will be less punctual. Only 90 percent of letters and parcels will have to arrive on time according to the specifications. Currently, 97 percent applies to letters and 95 percent to parcels.

These requirements would force Swiss Post to make excessive investments geared towards peak times, Rösti explained to the media at the Federal Palace. Bernard Maissen, Director of the Federal Office of Communications, said that these were minimum requirements. He expects punctuality to settle between the previous and the proposed new values.

... and delivery area

The obligation to deliver to all houses that are inhabited all year round, which has been in force since 2021, is to be dropped. According to Albert Rösti, this will affect three percent of all homes or 60,000 households.

Settlements with five or more houses on an area of one hectare that are inhabited all year round will continue to be served, explained Maissen. This is a return to the regulation before 2021. Swiss Post is looking for solutions for remote houses. "No one will be left behind," Rösti assured.

The Federal Council is sticking to the delivery of parcels and letters on five working days and press products on six weekdays for as long as possible and also in the key points of the revision of the ordinance, Rösti continued.

Stronger digital offering

The Federal Council wants to meet the changing habits of the population and companies as a result of digitalization by including digital letters in the basic postal service.

According to Rösti, senders send their letter from their computer or smartphone to Swiss Post, which encrypts it in real time and delivers it securely to the recipient. If digital delivery is not desired, Swiss Post will print out the letter and deliver it on paper. According to Rösti, the cost of this has not yet been determined.

The volume of letters sent by Swiss Post has fallen by a third in the last decade. Swiss Post expects a further 30 percent decline by 2030.

Digital payment transactions are well advanced in Switzerland. This is reflected at the post office counter. Cash deposits, which have already fallen to a quarter since 2000, are expected to fall by as much as 80 percent by 2030. However, as cash continues to play an important role, the Federal Council wants to retain analog cash payments.

In future, however, the payment account will also include an online payment method, such as a debit card or a payment app, and an internet payment service. Use of the digital offering is voluntary.

Postal Act must be revised

In a second step, the national government considers a comprehensive modernization of the universal service to be unavoidable. For the necessary revision of the Postal Services Act, the Uvek is to present key figures on the structure of the universal service from 2030 in 2025. The Federal Council is therefore not committing itself to further measures at this stage.

Rösti said that, from a current perspective, this would hardly lead to the abolition of A Mail. However, Swiss Post should not be obliged to provide a basic service that does not meet requirements. Otherwise it would inevitably find itself in financial difficulties. (SDA)

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