Pošta Slovenije Delays Post Office Closures Until Mid-2020

By , 21 Oct 2019, 12:30 PM Business

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STA, 18 October 2019 - Pošta Slovenije, the state-owned postal operator, which has been closing its offices around the country in line with its optimisation plan since 2012, is in the spotlight again after announcing more cuts at the beginning of the month. Facing protest from the public, the operator said on Friday it would somewhat delay the optimisation.

"Pošta Slovenije will not rearrange or shut down any of its postal offices until the middle of next year," the company, which started the optimisation to adjust to the situation on the market, told the STA today.

The decision comes after the announcement of further optimisation was met with discontent around the country.

In the last seven years, 67 post offices have been closed and another hundred were reportedly scheduled to be shut down in the next three years.

The Ljubljana city council expressed its opposition to the planned shutting down of postal offices in the capital in a press release at the beginning of the month, noting that Pošta Slovenije planned to close down at least five offices in the Ljubljana area.

"There are currently 33 post offices in Ljubljana. The planned shutdowns would reduce this number by 15%," the press release said.

Even more affected are local communities. In Griže in the Žalec municipality, a rally was staged at the end of September against the closing of the only post office in the town.

The initiative against the closing down of post offices, formed by the Ljubljana city councillors of seven parties, also turned to the Agency for Communication Networks and Services (AKOS).

"We've called on the agency to look into the plans for closing down offices and stop issuing consents, as the shutdowns are not in the public interest."

Pošta Slovenije said today the procedure of rearranging and shutting down of post offices depended on several factors and could take months. It added that one of them was AKOS's consent.

According to the Economy Ministry, the universal postal services must be available to all citizens, especially to vulnerable groups.

Regardless of the changes on the market in the last years, each municipality must have at least one postal office or a contract postal unit.

"95% of Slovenian citizens must have a contact postal point within a 4.5 kilometre air range and no compromises are acceptable here," Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek said in a reference to a solution introduced in rural areas where postal offices have been shut down.

There are currently 485 contact points in Slovenia, of which 321 are post offices, 138 contract postal units and 26 movable post offices.

Since the optimisation of Pošta Slovenije's network started in 2012, 67 post offices were closed and replaced by 52 postman's cars which operate as post offices.

According to Pošta Slovenije, Slovenia has a quite high share of post offices, 71%, while the share for Germany is only 0.1% and the Netherlands 0.3%, while the rest are contract postal units.

The postal operator also noted that 24 parcel stations had been placed in 16 towns around the country and that a self-service post office was available in Ljubljana as well as in Koper.

Packages can also be picked up at 114 petrol stations around the country.

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