La Poste – an extra day for letters could save €400m

France’s La Poste is reported to be looking at adding an extra day to the delivery time of second class post letters (lettres verts) in order to reduce costs in its system.

Exacerbated by the pandemic, there has been a significant drop in letter volumes yet the fixed costs of delivery haven’t fallen, causing significant losses for the postal operator. Local media reports suggest that slowing down second class mail delivery times by a day could save La Poste as much as €400 million annually.

The volume drops have been significant over time as more and more communication is done electronically. However, the pandemic caused a sharp fall as businesses moved away from advertising circulars and direct mailings for example.

French media reports that the additional time will be added from 2023. First class letters (lettres prioritaires) will remain at the current target speed of one day deliveries in France and three days in wider Europe.

At the same time, the French government has agreed to subsidise La Poste €500 million in 2022 to compensate for losses made in 2021. This is subject to European Commission approval on state aid.

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