EU ‘anti-mail’ rules will cost €8m of mail this year

An Post’s chief executive said EU customs rules are «anti-mail» and have delayed the transfer of parcels from the UK to Ireland at an indirect cost to the company of up to €8m this year.

David McCredmond said that since the UK left the EU, local post has been facing real problems.

He said people don’t know the rules and fail to fill out the correct paperwork before sending items to Ireland.

MacRedmond said the UK Post Office has not put in place rules and regulations for dealing with EU rules, which will not become mandatory across the EU until 2022.

This means that UK customers are not required to pay fees and fill out paperwork at the local post office, which means items posted here cannot be edited.

«In the meantime, we have to work twice as hard to make sure we can get packages to people,» the CEO of An Post said.

Mr MacRedmond said the problem is that EU rules are anti-postal and work in favor of logistics/export companies but not for what the postal service was designed for – facilitating trade.

He said An Post is working with Royal Mail to get the coding on packages right and with Irish Customs, which is showing some flexibility.

But he added that An Post is still required to collect fees by law and cannot release packages until they are collected.

He said it’s a legal matter and An Post has no discretion. «All we care about is getting packages to people, but we have to follow the rules,» he added.

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Mr Macredmond said there were also problems with mail from Japan, Australia and the United States.

Speaking on Today with Claire Byrne, An Post chief also defended the €3.50 handling fee that would apply if fees were to be charged, saying the fee did not cover the costs of overtime required by An Post.

Stamp prices may rise again next year

David MacRedmond also said today that there is a possibility that the price of stamps will rise again next year.

He said transport inflation is as high as 13% and An Post should continue investing to make sure it has good infrastructure.

He said the increase in stamps last year was the first in four years, while the price paid to Aer Lingus to transport packages had risen 300% as few planes were flying due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are not here to make a profit, but to provide a service,” he said, adding that An Post is working to keep prices low, while providing a quality service.

According to Mr. McCredmond, An Post is in advanced talks with a number of mortgage service providers to try to find a unique product that it can launch in the future.

«We would like to have it now and as quickly as possible, but there is no point in devising something that consumers can do elsewhere in the market,» he said.

Mr MacRedmond said post offices had a really tough time during Covid, but 99% of them stayed open every day.

He said the decline in foreign currency and welfare payments, and in particular that PUP payments were not made through the post office, had affected the business.

He added that Post is providing postal managers with additional Covid support until the end of 2022 in the hope that it will give the business time to recover.

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