Deutsche Post DHL is increasingly relying on vending machines

Deutsche Post DHL is increasingly relying on vending machines
Deutsche Post DHL is increasingly relying on vending machines

BONN (dpa-AFX) – The Deutsche Post DHL Group is increasingly relying on vending machines. The company said it currently operates 700 post offices, about 600 more than a year ago. At a post office, it is possible to drop off and pick up packages, buy stamps and drop off letters. It is also possible to obtain advice by video.

Furthermore, the postal group DHL, which operates under the name Deutsche Post in the domestic mail sector, has also set up parcel stations, called Packstationen, in which parcels can be left and picked up, but not letters. . The Bonn group says it currently operates around 13,300 packing stations in Germany, a third more than in June 2022 (10,000).

“We wanted to continue expanding our network of vending machines as needed, as they are very popular with our customers,” said a company spokesperson, emphasizing their main advantage: The vending machines are available 24 hours a day Customers therefore do not need to respect store opening hours, as is the case with usual branches, such as supermarkets and kiosks with post office counters.

The development of post offices could accelerate in the future. Indeed, under the new postal law, which was recently adopted by the Bundestag and which is expected to be finalized by the Bundesrat in July, they will be recognized as “universal service offices”. This means that they can be counted towards the obligation to maintain an office network. Swiss Post must operate at least 12,000 offices in Germany. Each locality with more than 2,000 inhabitants must have an office, and in municipalities with more than 4,000 inhabitants, an office cannot be more than two kilometers away in contiguous residential areas.

La Poste is having difficulty respecting this rule: in February, it had 125 obligatory sites unoccupied – so it was not present everywhere it should have been. This is mainly due to structural changes in the countryside: when the last merchant in a village closes, the Post Office no longer has a local partner. Until now, ATMs were not counted towards the requirement to have a branch network – these had to be branches in which a person provided the service. On the other hand, the new law is respected if the Post Office installs an automated machine – that is to say a post office, the packing stations playing no role in this regard, because they do not have a mail function.

However, there will be no massive shift from post offices occupied by people to vending machines. Indeed, according to the bill, the relationship between bureaus and distributors must be appropriate – what exactly this means remains vague. The local municipality has its say and the Federal Network Agency must agree. It is therefore entirely possible that the Post Office wants to install a distributor in a village or on the outskirts of a town, but that this is not taken into account in the obligatory network of branches.

The statements of the Bundesnetzagentur, however, suggest that the regulatory authority does not want to put a spoke in the wheels of the Bonn group. The authority’s director, Klaus Müller, welcomes the fact that Deutsche Post will install more stamp and parcel dispensers in the future than before. “If these dispensers are easy to use and are not constantly broken, this is progress for consumers that the law allows,” he told dpa. Vending machines are a benefit to people because they are available 24 hours a day. “It’s a useful addition – provided that the machines are easy to use and you don’t need a degree to use them.” /wdw/DP/men

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