Less frequent, more expensive post possible in service revamp: Economic Minister

Henk Kamp (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons). (Henk Kamp (Photo: Rijksoverheid.nl/Wikimedia Commons))

The Dutch postal service is in urgent need of a reassessment, Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs said on Monday. Fundamental choices must be made to keep postal delivery affordable and available. This could entail less frequent deliveries at higher costs, he said in a statement, NU.nl reports.

It will be up to Kamp's successor to make these choices, the Minister said. The Ministry of Economic Affairs shortly wants to arrange meetings with the postal services involved to discuss the future of the market. This is must happen soon, because the postal market is shrinking at a high tempo, according to the Ministry.

By making clear choices, companies in the sector know where they stand what they can expect. It also clarifies the situation for the thousands of postal employees in the country. "The postman's bag and mailboxes are increasingly empty, while delivery demands remain high. Digitization is increasing and this forces us to revise the regulated part of the post market in the short term." Kamp said.

Recent studies done on behalf or the Ministry of Economic Affairs show that WhatsApp is now the number one means of communication in the Netherlands. Mobile calling and email came in second and third. Physical mail dropped to sixth place. Over 60 percent of respondents called communication by post a hassle. In 2012 more than half called post communications easy.

Dutch consumers and businesses now send 35 percent less post than in 2011. Though the actual number of postal items remained stable at around 2.9 billion. Businesses account for 2.7 billion of these mail items. 

The unregulated parcel delivery market is seeing an increase, on the other hand. Every year around 350 million parcels are sent and received through this market, an increase of 81 percent compared to 2011.