The Estonian Competition Authority has granted state-owned postal service company Eesti Post, which operates under the Omniva brand, a license for the provision of universal postal services for the next five years, according to which the minimum number of post offices providing Omniva's universal postal services will be 215.
In October of last year, the Competition Authority set the minimum number of post offices at 245 instead of the previous 320. At present, Omniva has 267 post offices across Estonia.
It will be up to the company to decide whether to open or close post offices, but the number of operating post offices must not fall below the minimum number of post offices.
In addition to the number of post offices, the license also stipulates the minimum number of letterboxes to be 1,453. The minimum number of letterboxes across Estonia is currently 1,845.
The average monthly number of letters per letterbox was taken into account when reducing the minimum number of letterboxes.
The terms when it comes to the location of the letterboxes are that there must be at least two letterboxes in each city and rural municipality, the average distance of a letterbox from a postal service user located or living in a city must not be more than three kilometers, while the distance of a letterbox from a postal service user located or living in a rural municipality must not be more than five kilometers.
Services of the universal postal service and the periodicals related services linked to it caused Eesti Post a loss of €4.9 million in 2018. In the next five years, losses from the provision of the services are estimated to reach over 40 million euros.
In August the Competition Authority declared state-owned postal company AS Eesti Post, which operates under the Omniva brand, winner of the competition for the license to operate Estonia's universal postal service for the next five years.
By law, universal postal service means the continued and quality provision of postal services at an affordable price throughout the territory of the Republic of Estonia. This also includes the forwarding of items of correspondence weighing up to 2 kilograms as ordinary, registered and insured items, as well as the forwarding of packages weighing up to 20 kilograms as registered and insured items.
Eesti Post is to provide universal postal service throughout Estonia; it will be issued a new five-year license beginning Oct. 9, 2019.
That same month, Eesti Post CEO Ansi Arumeel described the provision of the universal postal service as the main duty and lifeblood of Eesti Post and the service remaining important to the people of Estonia despite its declining popularity.
While to date, Eesti Post has been covering most universal postal service- and periodicals-related losses with profits from other fields of business, according to its management and supervisory board, this model is no longer sustainable.
Editor: Helen Wright