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BUSINESS BRIEFS

Slovak Post retains monopoly

Courier firms have attacked new legislation ensuring Slovak Post's monopoly on the delivery of certain packages as "a step in the wrong direction" for liberalisation of the market.

The Law on Postal Services, passed by parliament November 6 states that courier firms shipping packages of up to 1kg must charge five times the amount charged by Slovak Post for a similar weight package.

The move ensures a virtual monopoly for Slovak Post on transport of such packages.

"This law should not be called the Law on Postal Services but the Law for the Slovak Post because it gives this institution a considerable privilege," said Laurenc Svitok, executive officer for the DHL courier firm in Slovakia.

"DHL services will not be affected by this so much, as our charges are higher because of the express delivery we provide.

"But what about local courier firms which could have had more competitive prices had the law put a 350 gram limit for Slovak Post? If it had been done that way, the competition would have taken between 10% and 15% of Slovak Post's turnover,"

he added.

The law also runs contrary to European Union guidelines. EU states' postal services currently have monopolies on packages up to 350 grams. Union member states are discussing lowering that limit to 150 grams.

"This is not about market liberalisation. Slovakia is moving in totally the opposite direction thanks to the lobbying of Slovak Post and their unions," Svitok said.

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