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Deutsche Post wants to lower delivery targets to protect the environment
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Deutsche Post wants to lower delivery targets to protect the environment

Deutsche Post, the largest German postal company, is seeking to relax a legal requirement that tied it to delivery targets. Deutsche Post argues that it cannot guarantee delivery of 80 percent of letters within the next working day in order to be more climate-friendly. 

Deutsche Post wants to send fewer letters in the next working day

Deutsche Post seeks legal approval to lower its delivery targets to make it more environmentally-friendly. Tobias Meyer, the company’s boss, stated that these strict targets prevent them from switching from domestic flights into long-haul trucks. 

To transport letters across the country, the company currently uses three domestic flights every night between Monday and Friday. “As long as we are obliged to deliver at least 80 percent of all letters on the next working day, we cannot avoid night flights,” said Meyer. “It is not feasible to cover the long distance from the mailbox to the recipient with trucks or even with freight trains overnight.”  

80 percent must reach their destination within one working day

As a state-regulated private company, Deutsche Post is bound to specific delivery targets: namely, 80 percent of all Germany-bound letters must be delivered the day after they are put in the post box (also known as the “E + 1 value”). 95 percent must reach their addressee within two working days (“E + 2”). 

Deutsche Post proposes that these figures are revised to allow it to move to a more climate-friendly mode. Accordingly, the E+ 1 value would drop to a goal of 50 percent, while the E+ 2 target would remain the same at 95 percent. The time pressure being less severe would allow letters to be easily transported by truck long distances, as it is now possible to transport them. 

The government says that too many people still depend on speedy postal services.

The postal company is confident that German consumers would accept their letters arriving one day later if the system was more environmentally-friendly. While the new coalition government has said that it wants to develop Germany’s postal system to higher socio-ecological standards, it’s not clear whether they would support the watering down of the E + 1 target. Similar proposals were rejected by the previous government in 2019. 

Reinhard Houben is an economic policy spokesperson for FDP. He says that many Germans still depend on their letters getting to them as quickly as possible, even in today’s digital age. Houben suggests Deutsche Post explore other ways to avoid domestic flights. For example, Deutsche Bahn could cooperate with Deutsche Post to transport long-distance letter on trains.

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