As a universal service provider, Deutsche Post must adhere to certain government regulations. If something goes wrong, you still won’t face a fine. That should change.
The Federal Ministry of Economics’s plan to allow fines against Deutsche Post in the future is criticized by the Bonn-based company as disproportionate. “The fine regulations clearly exceed the target,” says a letter from the company, which refers to the ministry’s proposal from the end of November and which is available to the dpa.
The authors complain that the potential penalty should be two percent of the entire group’s annual sales, which in the case of a large company like Deutsche Post would be billions. They make it clear that they don’t believe in billions of dollars for “simple violations.”
However, according to the ministry’s proposal, the fine can be significantly lower; the legal text mentions amounts of up to 100,000 euros, up to 500,000 euros and up to 1 million euros for different offenses. The two percent that the post office refers to is the maximum amount.
The postal group DHL is a global corporation; it only makes 16 percent of sales from its core business, the Post & Parcel Germany division. The majority of revenue comes from foreign business, which is also significantly more profitable.
According to the text of the law, the possible percentage fine relates to worldwide sales, including subsidiaries. This hammer of fines, which is rather theoretical but cannot be ruled out, is now giving the postal service a headache.
So far, the Federal Network Agency cannot impose any fines on the universal service provider if it performs poorly. Last year, staff shortages at the Yellow Giant meant that a relatively large number of shipments arrived at the recipient significantly late. As a result, the number of complaints that disgruntled citizens submitted to the network agency skyrocketed. In recent months the number has been lower than in the same period last year, but it is still at a high level.
In view of this wave of complaints and the associated quality problems, the President of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, advocated giving his authority the option of imposing fines. The postal management, in turn, shook its head and pointed out that imposing fines would not solve any personnel problems. Finding sufficient staff is difficult.
The Bonn-based company sees other parts of the postal law reform proposal as positive. In the future, the post office will have less time pressure when sending letters, which will allow the logistics company to reduce costs. The postal service wants to eliminate the still common night flights in which letters are transported and thereby improve its carbon footprint. The new specifications for the so-called transit times are welcomed, said the postal group DHL.
The Federal Cabinet should accept the reform proposal before Christmas, after which it will be the Bundestag and Bundesrat’s turn. The amendment to the law could be passed in spring 2024.