5 May 2023 18:49

Russian Post suggests charging marketplaces 0.5% of turnover to support postal network

MOSCOW. May 5 (Interfax) - The Russian Post has proposed to the Ministry of Digital Development a mechanism to support its unprofitable network of post offices by charging an infrastructure fee for participants in the e-commerce market, a source familiar with the company's initiative told Interfax.

Russian Post proposes to require marketplace owners and other participants in the e-commerce market, whose annual revenues are 1 billion rubles or more, to pay an infrastructure fee to the postal operator of 0.5% of their quarterly turnover of goods.

At the same time, it is proposed to assign the status of federal guaranteed supplier of e-commerce goods to Russian Post, which would be required to ensure equal accessibility of e-commerce goods for citizens and their guaranteed delivery throughout the country.

Russian Post believes that such a mechanism would simultaneously ensure the availability of e-commerce goods for citizens throughout the country, and will enable the company to fulfill its obligations to maintain and operate the network of post offices involved in the delivery of e-commerce goods, the source said.

According to the post office, draft laws have already been prepared for the implementation of the infrastructure payment mechanism.

Mikhail Volkov, General Director of Russian Post, outlined these proposals in a letter to Maxut Shadayev, head of the Ministry of Digital Development, the Interfax source said. In it, he also indicated that Russian Post operates throughout the country, including in remote and hard-to-reach settlements, its network has more than 38,000 branches, which is economically unprofitable due to the high cost of infrastructure and non-competitive working conditions. The company, according to the law, cannot reduce its network of branches, and its own maintenance, in accordance with state-approved standards, costs 29 billion rubles per year.

Interfax sent inquiries to the Ministry of Digital and Russian Post.

The issue of delivery operators possible being required to allocate funds to compensate for the work of the Russian Post in separate and rural settlements was discussed in April by the head of the Ministry of Digital Development Maxut Shadayev. As an example, he cited the universal communication service fund that exists in the telecom industry, to which all operators in the country deduct 1.2% of their revenues, and the funds are used to implement a project to bridge the digital divide.

Shadayev said that the draft law, which provides for deductions from goods delivery operators, is planned to be submitted in the coming month. The minister did not name the estimated amount of deductions and the criteria for choosing companies that will be entrusted with such obligations.

In mid-March, Shadayev announced the need to provide compensation to Russian Post for the provision of socially significant postal services in rural areas, where this activity is mainly unprofitable. Now, Russian Post is actually forced in many cases to provide for the maintenance of unprofitable post offices and guarantee a single standard and quality of services, he said.

As reported, state subsidies for Russian Post were canceled in 2014.