The President of UKE published a short version of an assessment study on the postal market functioning in 2006 submitted to the Minister of Transport.
The assessment study on the postal market functioning is based on information provided in the reports of the Poczta Polska activities – the operator which provides universal postal services, and also on the reports of operators which do not provide universal postal services. In addition, the information sources include the results of inspections of postal activities carried out under the act, an authorisation or a registration as well as the results of inspections aiming at the detection of postal activities carried out without a required authorisation or registration.
The postal market, in its evolution, is approaching the crucial moment of its full opening to competition. Therefore it requires regulatory activities that will ensure its sustainable and harmonious development.
This assessment study is an element of regulatory activities undertaken in order to monitor the developments in the postal market.
The postal market structure
The structure of the Polish postal market, after a period of dynamic growth in the number of private operators, seems to enter the stage of stabilisation. Most of the market indicators (such as the number of registered operators, the number of services provided by them and the total volume of postal services) are evolving in the same direction but at a different pace. Only the employment is still increasing, but at a much slower pace.
Between 1996 and 2006, the number of private operators increased more than tenfold (from 15 up to 157 operators). However, this growth can be felt predominantly by business customers in urban areas as private operators are active only in cities and targeted mainly at bulk senders.
The number of postal items
In 2006, the volume of mail in the area reserved for Poczta Polska decreased due to the fact that starting from 2006 the weight limit for items in the reserved area was reduced. Since 1 January 2006 the weight limit has been 50 g and the price limit 2.5 times the price charged by the public operator.
The number of postal items in domestic transactions from 2003 to 2006
Excluding direct mail
1 853 585 576
2 030 183 256
1 749 952 077
1 674 734 174
Including direct mail
2 627 835 052
3 515 447 430
3 617 158 224
4 963 177 047
A significant growth of transactions in the area of direct mail had a positive effect on the amount of transactions generated by the operators. The great extent of generated transactions in the area of direct mail however does not constitute an important revenue position that could affect the financial situation of operators.
Revenues from postal services
In 2006, postal operations generated the revenue of PLN 6.4 billion, and including direct mail of PLN 6.6 billion. The comparison of those figures shows that the observed increase in the number of distributed direct mail, which improves the figures in quantitative terms, does not have any significant influence on the total revenue.
The revenue generated from the sale of services (including direct mail) between 2003 and 2006 (in PLN)
5 758 800 000
6 048 600 000
5 882 294 728
6 576 706 094
The number of postal outlets
There were 9770 postal outlets in the entire area of Poland at the end of 2006 (including private operators and the public operator), mostly located in urban areas (5 213). Access to postal services in rural areas is provided by Poczta Polska, and the number of outlets operated by private operators is insignificant (41). Private operators are operating predominantly in the cities, where the demand for postal services is much bigger, and their provision is much cheaper than in the rural areas.
Urban and rural outlets of Poczta Polska and of private operators (as of 31 December 2006)
The pattern of postal outlets in different regions is not even. Most postal outlets are located in the slaskie voivodship, mazowieckie voivodship and wielkopolskie voivodship with the fewest number of outlets in the opolskie voivodship, podlaskie voivodship and lubuskie voivodship.
The comparison of the population in particular regions with the amount of operating postal outlets (of Poczta Polska and other operators) shows that the inhabitants of the lubuskie, lubelskie and warminsko-mazurskie voivodships have best access to postal services. However, it should be noted that the lubuskie voivodship has the smallest population, which contributes to high access levels. The mazowieckie, lodzkie and slaskie voivodships have the biggest number of people per one postal outlet. However, these regions are characterised by big population numbers.
To sum up, the development of the Polish postal market should be assessed positively. The developments observed in the market are not as significant as they used to be in the initial stage of its functioning, however they are still noticeable. Undoubtedly, the regulator should aim at maintaining the pace of growth matching the regulatory action with this objective. In particular, it is important to amend quickly the current legal framework.
Another important issue includes changes in the functioning of the biggest market player, i.e. Poczta Polska. The future shape of the market for postal services to a great extent depends on the activities to be followed by this undertaking.