The Bundestag has passed the first reform of the Postal Act in 26 years.

The amendment is intended to give Deutsche Post more time to deliver letters, while at the same time ensuring that they reach consumers more reliably. The corresponding bill was approved by the Bundestag on Thursday, with the votes of the SPD, Green and FDP parliamentary groups. The CDU/CSU and AfD voted against it.

In Germany, 60 million letters and ten million parcels are sent every day. The aim is to ensure a nationwide and affordable supply in the long term. In order to improve competition on the market, the Federal Network Agency is to be given more powers. Working conditions for parcel carriers are to be improved.

Currently, at least 80 percent of letters in Germany must be delivered on the following working day and 95 percent must reach the recipient within two working days. In future, 95% of standard letters are to reach the recipient on the third working day after posting and 99% on the fourth working day. This means that Swiss Post will no longer have to fly overnight to deliver letters. The Group had already discontinued night flights for the transportation of letters in Germany at the end of March in anticipation of the new law. "Longer transit times mean that night flights are no longer necessary," said DHL CEO Tobias Meyer.

Parcels weighing over 20 kilograms may only be transported by a single delivery person using "suitable technical aids". However, the government is to define exactly what this is in a separate regulation by the end of 2024. Delivery companies will also have to register with the Network Agency in a provider directory. Clients will then have to check the reliability of their subcontractors after three months and every twelve months thereafter. This is intended to prevent employee rights from being circumvented via subcontractors.

Post's competitors have repeatedly accused the DAX-listed company of price dumping in the large customer business. The Network Agency is to introduce new rules for setting letter postage for private customers - a kind of price cap. Postage for standard letters will not be able to rise above the maximum limit of one euro in the next round in 2025, according to the Ministry of Economic Affairs. The bulk product currently costs 85 cents.

Swiss Post announced that the law contains some "bitter pills". Bureaucracy would be increased. The additional access for competitors will make the universal service more expensive. "We are now hoping for swift adoption by the Bundesrat so that our employees and consumers finally have clarity and the regulatory process already underway for the years 2025 to 2027 can be completed on time."

(Report by Christian Krämer and Matthias Inverardi, edited by Sabine Ehrhardt. If you have any questions, please contact our editorial team at (for politics and the economy) or (for companies and markets).)