ACM approves tariffs for basic set of postal services


The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has approved Dutch postal operator PostNL’s proposal for the tariffs of the basic set of postal services for 2021. PostNL will increase stamp prices from EUR 0.91 to 0.96. That price falls within the headroom that is calculated on the basis of statutory rules. These rules stipulate that ACM will approve the tariffs if these tariffs fall within the calculated tariff headroom. The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) sets the calculation system, which says that, as the volume of mail sent decreases, the tariffs for the basic set of postal services can increase. The purpose of these rules is that consumers and businesses do not pay too much for mail delivery services, while, at the same time, PostNL is able to provide the basic set of postal services (also called ‘the universal service obligation’) in a profitable manner. The costs for maintaining the postal network remain stable, also if the number of postal items decreases. The tariffs per postal item can increase in order to keep the USO profitable during such a decline.

Tariff headroom increases because fewer letters are sent

PostNL has additional headroom to increase the tariffs for the basic set of postal services in 2021. This additional tariff headroom is primarily connected to the inflation and to the further decline in the number of postal items. PostNL’s additional tariff headroom is 1.5 percent compared with the headroom for 2020. In addition, PostNL takes advantage of part of the tariff headroom from previous years, which had not been used before. The increase in the tariff headroom for 2021 is considerably smaller than the increase for 2020, which was 16.5 percent. This is because the decrease in the number of postal items within the USO in 2019 (the year that the tariff headroom for 2021 is based on) was smaller than in the years before 2019, and also because of an annual, technical adjustment of the calculation.

Other tariffs

The tariff for franked stamps increases from EUR 0.85 to 0.90. The tariff for registered letters increases from EUR 8.80 to 9.05. The tariff for domestic parcels remains at EUR 7.25.

PostNL has sole responsibility for the basic set of postal services

PostNL is the only postal operator in the Netherlands that is responsbile for the universal service obligation. These services include the delivery of single-piece letters, parcels, registered mail, mail for the visually impaired, medical mail, bereavement mail, and international bulk mail (letters and parcels).

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