The only privately owned alternative to the Post Office is scaring the daylights out of the government-run operation.
That’s why the Post Office, which was a monopoly until 2006, has asked the EU to delay for two years the opening of Poland’s letter- and package-carrying business to all comers.
Poland and the EU first negotiated a date of 2011 to open the 6-bln-zloty postal market to any company that wants to try it.
But postal officials have convinced the EU to delay the opening until 2013.
That means that companies competing with the Post Office before 2013 will be limited to only certain slices of the pie.
InPost became the first privately owned alternative to the Post Office two years ago. But it is allowed to deliver only correspondence that weighs more than 50 grams.
The company, which serves both corporate and individual clients, operates throughout the country, using 153 branches. It delivers 2 mln letters a month.
The Post Office has accused the InPost branch in Bielsko-Biala of putting small packets of sand in some envelops to get them to the 50-gram level.
InPost’s explanation is that the sand packets helped protect the envelopes from accidentally being jostled open during transit, but the government’s Office of Electronic Communications isn’t buying that. .
The Office of Electronic Communicatons oversees Poland’s telecommunications and postal sectors.
One of its duties is intervening in disputes involving those sectors.
The Post Office also screamed when InPost delivered some letters in 2007 with metal plates of its logo.
The government-run operation, claiming unfair competition, took InPost to court. The legal proceeding is pending.
The daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza said that if a court decides InPost has broken the law, it will be fined 2 percent of its income for 2007.
Many Poles hope that the opening of the post market to real competition in 2013 will lower the cost of delivery and improve service.
“I hope that with the liberalization of the postal market the lines in post offices will disappear ? and finally correspondence will be delivered on time,” said Katarzyna Mazur, an English teacher from southeastern Poland.