Discussion Papers

Wolfgang Elsenbast

Eine Methode zur Bestimmung der Infrastrukturlast im Briefdienst
Nr. 127 / März 1994

Summary

DBP Postdienst has to supply the letter, postal newspaper and parcel service universally. The imposition of the universal service obligation creates additional losses because in rural areas revenues do not cover the costs. The determination of this universal service burden is essential for the economic analysis of the postal sector because its magnitude determines the scope of the necessary postal monopoly and the financial viability of the DBP Postdienst in a liberalised market.

In this paper, we discuss the burden of providing a universal letter service. We distingiush between the actual and efficient costs of providing a universal letter service. The actual costs are the costs which are imposed on the basis of the current network using current facilities. Hence, the actual burden of providing a universal letter service can be characterised as the sum of cross subsidies which are necessary to provide the current postal traffic in less populated areas. The cross subsidies can be identified if the network of the letter service is broken up in mail paths which connect local collection and local delivery areas. Further, each mail stream can be subdivided in a letter mail stream (Briefpost Einzelsendung), a letter bulk mail stream (Briefpost Massensendung) and a direct mail stream (Infopost). A system of incremental cost tests for the identification of cross - subsidised local collection and local delivery areas and cross - subsidised mail paths going to non subsidised local delivery areas is proposed.

Currently, DBP Postdienst is not able to produce all services at efficient costs. An essential part of the actual costs are produced because DBP Postdienst still bears inefficiencies related to its past as an administration. The real burden imposed by the universal service obligation will be identified as the sum of cross - subsidies which are necessary if the letter service will be produced in an efficient manner. If the efficient costs of the universal letter service can be determined, the real burden can be calculated similiarly to the actual burden.

Using the existing accounting systems of the DBP Postdienst it is impossible to calculate the actual or real burden of providing a universal letter service. We propose a method for calculating the long run avoidable cost and revenues of cross - subsidised local collection areas and local delivery areas and cross subsidised postal traffic going to non subsidised local delivery areas.

Only German language version available.

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