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Deutsche Post World Net
www.post.de

At a German post office, you can do a lot more than just mail letters.  Anybody who’s been away from Germany for a while will find “Deutsche Post World Net” a shock. That’s the present name for the postal service, a piece of the former government monopoly, Deutsche Bundespost, that went public in 2000. Under the new regime the neighborhood post office is now a sort of one-stop shopping center. It will usually be in a stationery store with a counter where you can buy stamps, mail a package, deposit or withdraw money and apply for a credit card. It will also probably be open more convenient hours than the bureaucratic post offices of old.

And that’s only the part that is visible to the average consumer. As the name “Deutsche Post World Net” implies, the new company aims to be a major world player in the coming field of logistics. It has acquired a part interest in one of the major express companies, DHL, which now handles the sending of packages weighing more than two kilograms. The aim of all this is to give the American giants, UPS and FedEx, a run for their money.

For all the forward-looking plans, the old-fashioned delivery of letters and small parcels still accounts for a large part of the Post’s business. Even back in its bureaucratic days, the German post office had a reputation for speedy delivery, and the private company has further improved on it: 95% of letters are delivered within one day, and 99% within two days. Most packages can be delivered within a 400-kilometer radius in one day and nationwide within two days.

The postmen of old have undergone important changes under the new regime, too. Especially in thinly populated areas, they practically carry a branch post office in their pouches. Among other things they sell stamps, take packages, accept bank deposits, cash checks and sell telephone cards.