The Belgian postal service Bpost is to increase its tariff for business packages by one euro in the run-up to Christmas, the company announced.
The shops are closed, and only able to do business online. But any business using Bpost to send out packages will have to reckon on an extra €1 cost per package, starting next Friday and running until Christmas Eve.
The period also covers Sinterklaas, and packages containing toys for the children, as well as Black Friday, an American post-Thanksgiving tradition that has been increasingly imported to Belgium.
The extra charge only applies to business clients, and will not affect ordinary members of the public sending packages.
The new tariff is unprecedented, but should come as no surprise, Bpost said.
“Any price adjustment is always decided and communicated before the start of the new year,” Bpost spokesperson Barbara Van Speybroeck told De Tijd. The announcement of the so-called ‘end-of-the-year supplement’, she said, was made last September.
In April this year, Bpost announced a ‘corona supplement’ of 25 cents per package for contracted business clients, described at the time by Unizo, the organisation that represents the self-employed, as “an especially cynical Easter present”.
The company argued that it was suddenly confronted with an increase in packages traffic usually seen only in the year-end period. At the same time, the epidemic meant many sorting office staff had dropped out due to illness or self-isolating.
The second lockdown, however, saw packages break new records. On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, Bpost handled more than 520,000 packages a day, more than at any time during the first lockdown. The company expects traffic to top 600,000 a day in the week between Black Friday and Sinterklaas – a tidy Christmas bonus at €1 extra per package.