Thursday, 6 January 2022

HPB and Croatian Post Form Strategic Partnership to Improve Services

January the 6th, 2022 - Hrvatska postanska banka (HPB) and Hrvatska posta (Croatian post) have come together and signed a framework agreement on strategic partnership, all done with the aim of improving things for their end customers and clients.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, HPB and Croatian Post decided to put their heads together for the benefit of their many customers and clients and as such signed a new Framework Agreement on Strategic Partnership and Outsourcing back on the 31st of December 2021 with the primary aim of improving the level of the customer service they both offer.

The strategic partnership between HPB and Croatian Post and the implementation of the useful ''Bank at the Post Office'' project has as such created the largest business network offering banking services to individuals in the smallest and most remote places across the country, and back in 2020, this project was expanded to provide banking services in this manner to business users as well.

Thanks to this decision on forming a strategic partnership, individuals have now have the possibility to make Croatian kuna payment transactions and contract and use the aforementioned bank's products and services across 1,016 post offices, and services are available to business entities at 987 different locations, scattered across the country.

In this regard, the ''Bank at the Post Office'' project has made banking business accessible to all those across the Republic of Croatia who didn't, at least until now, have the necessary services close to their places of residence and within their local communities, which is also the greatest value of this unique and praiseworthy project.

In this context, the preparation of the Framework Agreement was extremely demanding, given that it is a complex legal and business process that is extensively regulated and subject to strict regulatory provisions, despite all of the red tape, HPB and Croatian Post succeeded.

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Sunday, 14 November 2021

Croatian Post Cryptocurrency Buying and Selling Options Expanded

November the 14th, 2021 - Croatian Post (Hrvatska posta/HP) has been bringing out various new services and offers for its users over the last year or so, and there's yet another one now on offer. Croatian Post cryptocurrency buying and selling options have now been widened.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian Post has expanded its service to buying and selling cryptocurrencies in line with more modern, cashless times, which can now be bought or sold at more than 50 selected post offices covering all Croatian counties, the company reported on Friday.

Post offices can currently do business with as many as eleven different cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ripple, Stellar, Ether, Eos, Bitcoin Cash, Dai, USDT, USD Coin, Polkadot and Kusama, Croatian Post said in a statement, adding that around two years ago they also introduced the cryptocurrency purchase service in selected post offices.

"With the introduction of the option to purchase cryptocurrencies, selected post offices have become central locations for doing business with cryptocurrencies in many places in Croatia. The exchange of cryptocurrencies is carried out in cooperation with the Croatian company Electrocoin, which successfully runs the bitcoin-mjenjacnica.hr service,'' it was pointed out.

Croatian Post noted that Crypto Centre, a special website that brings together all of the Croatian Post cryptocurrency services and offers, is also fully available to customers.

The website contains an exchange rate list, information on buying and selling the desired cryptocurrency and an interactive map with the addresses of post offices throughout the country where this service is available. In addition, crypto-stamps can be bought on it, and as they pointed out from the company, this is another novelty with which they connected Croatian Post with the latest technological trends, ie the NFT market.

All three issues of cryptocurrencies that were put into circulation had a total of 3,000 exclusive copies that could only be purchased in cryptocurrencies and which were sold out in the meantime, and cryptocurrencies can be purchased in larger post offices and on epostshop.hr.

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Saturday, 3 July 2021

How Did Croatian Post Staff Cope on 1st Day of New EU Postal Rules?

July the 3rd, 2021 - Croatian Post staff have had their hands full trying to cope with the European Union's new rules on packages being sent into the bloc from third countries which came into force at the beginning of this month.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes, Croatian Post Variety Centre (HP) in Velika Gorica near Zagreb was ready and waiting to welcome the first day of the application of the new EU regulations which abolish the tax relief for the import of small value shipments from third countries. The sorting plant even worked at a reduced capacity because they shipped all shipments the day before, as they themselves point out, so as not to put their customers at a disadvantage.

Infrastructure

As Kresimir Domjancic, Head of HP Corporate Communications, explained, the biggest change occurred with the IT infrastructure that is now connected to the customs services of all EU countries, Croatian Post staff now only have to scan delivery notes into the system.

"Although we've selected shipments to those from the internal market and those from third countries so far, now everything will be even more detailed because all shipments from third countries must pass the customs procedure for VAT collection. Most of the work is being done by our employees in the process of control of such shipments, for which we charge a fee of 18.50 kuna for shipments worth up to 150 euros and 37 kuna for those ranging from 150 to a thousand euros,'' said Domjancic.

He pointed out that by midnight on June the 30th, Croatian Post staff had already shipped all shipments from the sorting plant, whether they were from the internal market or third countries, but that it may happen that some customers who ordered goods several weeks ago still have to pay VAT and processing costs according to the new EU regulations because the shipments entered the sorting and processing procedure only after the date on which the new rules came into force.

“People often blame us for the delay in delivery because trackers show them that their shipment has arrived in the destination country. Very often this isn't inaccurate in showing the estimated time of arrival, and even more often, that the goods have arrived in a warehouse in the internal market somewhere in Germany, France or the Netherlands. However, in such cases, it's common practice for the shipping company to need to wait a couple of days, sometimes weeks, to fill a container, truck or plane to Croatia,'' explained Domjancic.

He added that in the coming days, the procedure on who pays VAT and customs and where that happens will have to be harmonised because it is possible to arrange it so that the seller pays in advance, it's paid for when entering the EU market or it's paid for in the destination country, such as Croatia.

Ivan Plazanic, head of the International Shipping Department at Croatian Post, explained that a total of 110 employees deal with this in the sorting room, 12 of whom work the night shift, because the department works 24 hours a day, 25 work during the afternoon and about 60 work the morning shift.

"Due to the new regulations and the expected increase in the volume of work, we hired eight new people. We also have a model for Croatian Post staff from the administration department to come to our aid during any crisis,'' Plazanic stated, adding that the first day of the new regime was a bit surprising because their warehouse was left unusually empty, which is partly attributed to the indecision of customers due to the new regime, but also because of the summer season.

Coronavirus induced issues

''The coronavirus crisis has disrupted our normal business a lot because we can no longer estimate when we'll have a certain amount of work. This applies in particular to border blockades and irregular air traffic. Before, we knew exactly when a cargo was coming to us, and now it's often sudden or delayed,'' pointed out Plazanic. About five million shipments from third countries, most often from China, pass through this department annually.

Melita Buljan from the Customs Administration confirmed that in the first hours of the new procedure, there were no problems or additional burdens because most of the challenges had already been solved by IT support.

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Sunday, 20 June 2021

Further Fall in Number of Postal Services Provided in Q1

ZAGREB, 20 June, 2021 - The coronavirus pandemic has continued to adversely affect the Croatian postal services market, with the number of postal services provided in the first quarter of this year dropping to 70 million or by nearly 8% compared with the same period in 2020, the HAKOM regulator said.

HAKOM said that the volume of all postal services, except express parcels relating to online shopping, had declined in the first quarter, noting that, compared with the fourth quarter of 2020, the volume of express parcel delivery services had also fallen, by 3.1%.

The fall was mainly due to the distribution of printed matter, which declined by 20% compared with Q4 2020 and by 28% compared with Q1 2020.

The fall in the number of services provided also affected revenues, which dropped by 5% compared with Q4 and rose by 10% compared with Q1 2020. HAKOM said that the increase was due to a 23% rise in the delivery of express parcels relating to online shopping and an increase in prices of some of the so-called universal services.

The number of postal service providers on the Croatian market has remained the same. At the end of the first quarter of this year, these services were provided by 23 companies, among which Croatian Post (HP) remains the largest, with an 84.1% share in total turnover.

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Friday, 7 May 2021

Croatian Postal Service Raises Fees for Using Wrong Parcel Packaging

May the 7th, 2021 - The Croatian postal service, Croatian Post/Hrvatska posta has set out to explain the differences between using their company's standardised packaging and boxes customers have lying around at home following talk of price increases.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the price of sending packages has remained the same for all users who use standardised packaging when sending mail through the Croatian postal service, whether they're branded Croatian Post boxes or any which happened to be owned at home, Croatian Post explained when asked to clarify speculations that people sending packages in their own boxes from home could end up being twice as expensive when compared to those shipped in a standardised Croatian Post/HP box.

However, they also explained that with the increase in the price of the universal service of sending packages weighing up to 10 kilograms, a discount in the same amount for the use of packaging of standard dimensions was introduced in parallel.

“Shipments and packages that aren't adequately packaged or deviate in size from the standard measures create significant costs across all segments of the delivery process - from receipt, sorting, to the very transportation to delivery. Shipments that aren't properly packaged are much more difficult to pass through automated systems and they end up slowing down the sorting process and making it difficult to make maximum use of space in the post office and in our vehicles. In addition, shipments of non-standard dimensions more often cause problems during transport and damage other shipments, which, in addition to increased costs, also affects the quality of service and customer satisfaction with our services. For example, an inadequately packaged bottle of oil or wine that breaks, damages other shipments as well,'' said Jo Kempen, the executive director of the Croatian postal service's Corporate Communications Office.

Croatian Post added that the standardisation of packages is a practice carried out by all logistics distributors in the European Union (EU) and as a result it has a faster and higher quality of service for customers. Standard boxes can be purchased at post offices or other stores that sell the company's packaging. If users send items in such boxes, their own or purchased at the post office, the final price for them doesn't actually change, meaning that it will remain the same as it was before May the 1st this year, they emphasised from the Croatian postal service.

The dimensions of standardised boxes that can be purchased at Croatian post offices can be found by clicking here.

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Sunday, 18 April 2021

Croatian Post to Install 150 Useful Devices Across County Before May

April the 18th, 2021 - Croatian Post has had to adapt a lot of its business operations as the pandemic rages on, and among the innovations it has introduced over the last year or so include the placing of 150 devices across the country to help out customers.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, numerous residents of Rijeka and its surroundings have been able to notice Croatian Post's multiple parcel machines set up at four locations in the vicinity of the city over recent days. The move is part of one of the key projects introduced by Croatian Post, which will install 150 parcel machines throughout Croatia by May, Novi list writes.

As part of this 108 million kuna investment, Croatian Post will install a total of 300 parcel machines by the end of next year, and this trend, while novel in Croatia, has been popular in various European Union countries for some time now and is well accepted and liked among users, as they pointed out from Croatian Post.

They noted that "the installation of parcel machines means that we will no longer depend on the date set by the courier, but we will choose how and when to pick up the shipment."

''Package machines will be available every day of the week, 24 hours per day, and Croatian Post users will be able to pick up and send their packages at a time that suits them best, but also to return goods purchased through e-shops.

The installation of parcel machines is accompanied by the recent launch of a new self-service portal that will give recipients the ability to manage their parcels and shipments, and users will be able to redirect their packages depending on the location that suits them best at any given time.

For more on Croatian post and other domestic companies, make sure to follow our dedicated business section.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Croatian Post Introduces Another Delivery Novelty for Customers

April the 13th, 2021 - Croatian Post (Hrvatska posta) has made several changes to how it functions and what it offers over the last year or so, and with the coronavirus pandemic continuing to rage on, they have introduced yet another option for their customers, this time relating to deliveries.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, Croatian Post introduced a novelty in its service when it comes to the delivery of packages and shipments. Namely, they will begin delivering packages on Saturdays, once a month and as needed. The company's postmen will therefore work on Saturdays in the cities and places where and when the influx of shipments and parcels has increased.

They say that the working Saturdays will see the postmen properly paid and that their goal is to raise the level of the services they provide because their customers are paramount, RTL news reports.

''Our goal is to raise the level of our service to an even higher level than prescribed because our customers are our primary focus,'' said Jo Kempen, the director of Croatian Post’s Corporate Communications Office.

Working on Saturdays is not the only novel service introduction from Croatian Post when it comes to delivering packages. The country's postal service has also started testing the "package machine" which will greatly facilitate the lives of all customers, users and suppliers by making things easier.

Otherwise, this sort of new Croatian Post service is far from now, and it has proven to be a hit in several countries, especially during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic when everything has slowed down and become somewhat problematic for both customers and those dealing with post.

For more on Croatian companies, make sure to follow our dedicated business section.

Sunday, 21 February 2021

Croatian Islanders Voice Anger at Alleged Croatian Post Discrimination

February the 21st, 2021 - Croatian islanders have voiced their irritation at alleged discrimination from Croatian Post (Hrvatska posta) as certain types of mail continue to fail to reach them owing to an odd decision made by Croatian Post. 

Croatian Post is often the butt of the joke when it comes to talking about snail mail, mail which simply never arrives or postmen claiming they've knocked at your door when they quite honestly haven't, but for Croatian islanders, issues with the Croatian postal system have been seriously raised.

As Morski writes, Croatian islanders, more specifically the annoyed residents of the island of Premuda are far from happy with the performance of Croatian Post, which, as they say, has been preventing them from receiving any packages heavier than 2 kilograms since mid-February. Letters warning of discrimination against Croatian islanders were sent to the various addresses of Croatian Post, but also to the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure.

''As of Friday, February the 12th, 2021, the residents of the island of Premuda are no longer able to order supplies through the web store of Croatian Post, Yellow Click, if the package weighs more than 2 kilograms. Through their website, it's possible to order only through the HP Express service, which is disabled for the islands of Premuda, Silba, Olib, Molat, Ist… Throughout the past year, Croatian islanders have used this service mostly for potatoes, apples and the like because the agricultural season was bad, and a pandemic ensued.

We have a great internet connection, the web store is booming, and the only option for those of us who live on the islands is being abolished? This is Croatian Post, 100 percent owned by the state. The islands have a post office like we have shipping lines, and we can't just let this issue go so easily. Does the state intend to abolish the post office as their next step, too? Another job removed from the island? Disable Croatian islanders the use of a postal service throughout the year, on every working day? These letters are being sent by the residents of Premuda to the authorities, feel free to download them and ask for a statement,'' warned Lea Grdovic.

In the letter they sent to Croatian Post and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, it says:

''To whom it may concern, we're addressing you because of the decision of Croatian Post not to deliver packages to some islands, including the island of Premuda. The island is connected to the mainland by ferry three times a week. The journey takes several hours, and the inhabitants of the island are mostly elderly people and it isn't easy for them to travel to Zadar. Package shipments are even more important to Croatian islanders during these pandemic-dominated times, because they're often the only way for people to get certain things from the mainland and from abroad.

The decision of Croatian Post discriminates against the inhabitants of the islands in relation to other inhabitants of Croatia. They cannot choose between other delivery services, but are dependent exclusively on Croatian Post. The country's postal services are under your jurisdiction and should be available to all residents of this country, so please allow the residents of Premuda to receive and send packages that mean everything to them,'' said the locals of the island of Premuda in their joint letter.

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Saturday, 12 December 2020

Croatian Post's Ivan Culo Addresses Parcel Delivery Difficulties

December the 12th, 2020 - Hrvatska Posta/Croatian Post hasn't been immune to the devastating economic woes caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and the president of the management board, Ivan Culo, has addressed the pandemic-induced difficulties.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, Hrvatska Posta - another large company whose normal activities and operations are currently significantly affected by the pandemic - is recording a high number of as many as 20 percent of its employees being placed into self-isolation. This fact, which understandably can't be influenced, is causing negative effects during the period in which annual ''peaks'' in parcel traffic on a daily and monthly basis occur - otherwise characteristic of the pre-festive Christmas period, additionally burdened by the effect of the recent Black Friday shopping.

With market changes, for example due to the limited possibilities with air parcel delivery, this new and unprecedented situation in which we currently all find ourselves has led to a lot of congestion in parcel traffic when compared to a number of previous years in Croatia, the region and beyond. Quite understandably, the number of customer inquiries and complaints has gone hand in hand with the difficulties and delays being experienced by Hrvatska Posta.

On this occasion, the President of the Management Board of Hrvatska Posta, Ivan Culo, explained that they're not trying to deny the existence of certain difficulties within the company, but as December is a really specific month in terms of mail for postal operators across Europe, their colleagues in Slovenia, Austria and Germany are also in a similar, trying situation, and the issues being faced by Hrvatska Posta aren't unusual.

"In the first seven working days of December, package traffic was higher by 22 percent when compared to the same period in 2019. We've prepared all of our available capacities in anticipation of the end of the year so that we're ready to meet this peak load, but we can't influence the pandemic and the measure of self-isolation of our workers. Therefore, we're asking our customers who are expecting their packages for a little understanding,'' said Culo, adding that all packages will be delivered and that Hrvatska Posta will continue to perform its activities at the highest level possible given the circumstances,'' concluded Ivan Culo.

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Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Amazon in Croatia? Croatian Post and Amazon Grow Closer

November the 24th, 2020 - The words ''Amazon in Croatia'' are about as foreign to anyone living here who has tried to order something from the global giant as someone speaking to them in Klingon, but could it finally be happening? Although there has been no official confirmation as yet, it seems things could be moving forward on the until now almost unthinkable ''Amazon in Croatia'' front.

As Darko Bicak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, and as Poslovni Dnevnik initially reported last year, in the middle of this month Amazon started an exclusive cooperation with Croatian on the delivery of packages for the Croatian market with the perspective of covering the markets of Croatia's neighbouring countries, primarily Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. However, for the time being, neither Croatian Post (HP) nor Amazon wants to comment officially on this business partnership.

"We can't reveal the names of our business partners, but yes, HP has become a partner to large web retailers recently and a significant increase in the number of processed shipments is expected," the Croatian company stated. However, it has also been found out that HP has recently started cooperating with the multinational online store About You, which has had a major marketing campaign on the Croatian market in recent weeks.

Amazon's technical experts visited Croatia last summer, taking the time to go and view the newly built HP sorting centre worth 350 million kuna in Velika Gorica near Zagreb. The initial deadline for opening up the sorting plant was postponed for several months to meet all of the deadlines and conditions of technical inspection from Amazon.

Just what would this cooperation mean for the HP itself and, of course, Croatian customers with the chance of an ''Amazon in Croatia'' carrot being dangled in front of them? In any case, HP will strengthen its market position and brand, and Croats will certainly be able to buy more products from Amazon's offer and get them delivered in a shorter time.

Despite the fact that Croatia been part of the single market of the European Union and all EU directives governing free trade for more than seven years now, our customers are mostly deprived of cheaper purchases through Amazon, which doesn't deliver a good part of its goods to Croatia. The main reason for this is in the fact that only about 50% of its own goods are sold through Amazon, and the other half falls on original brands and stores and where Amazon merely acts as an intermediary.

In such cases, the seller, not the intermediary, decides where they want to send the goods and where they don't - mostly for market and logistical reasons. Those who really wanted to buy something through Amazon had to, at an additional cost, rent mailbox services in Germany to which Amazon sent them the original shipment, which would then be repackaged and shipped onward to Croatia. A rather ridiculous action to have to take indeed.

Amazon is one of the most famous global brands that doesn't need to be presented or promoted in any way, but it's worth repeating that it is an online store that is twice as large as all other online stores in the world, according to specialised portals. Their revenue stood at an incredible 280 billion US dollars last year and they employ more than a million people. To compare, Alibaba had revenues of 72 billion dollars at the same time, and Wish had 1.9 billion dollars in revenue.

That sort of mind boggling data, perhaps even now outdated, speaks volumes about what kind of giant Amazon truly is, that five million companies offer their goods through this service. Last year, the founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, became the richest man in the world, whose wealth in mid-2019 was estimated at more than 160 billion US dollars, and today reaches 83.6 billion US dollars, according to Forbes.

Although the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has brought major problems to the entire global economy, courier companies and online stores have seen significant growth. In particular, Amazon had about 650,000 employees in the middle of last year, and a year later that climbed to more than a million.

Although these are much smaller numbers, HP also profited from the pandemic. "In the postal world, we've seen changes in recent years and all the trends have indicated that the circumstances are changing. The pandemic has accelerated the trends we expected - the decline in revenue we experienced in core business, especially the decline in the number of letters hasn't yet been replaced by package revenue, but these volumes are growing strongly. This is where our investment in Paket24 pays off. HP will end this year with a positive result and an extremely stable financial picture. Almost 100 million euros of losses from previous periods have been closed and the same amount has been invested,'' HP explained.

They added that before the virus struck, their online orders, and thus courier deliveries, grew by 15-20% every year. With the introduction of lockdown, their turnover increased by 30% when compared to the same period last year. They especially emphasise that HP connected small family farms with customers through Yellow Click/Zuti Klik.

Although HP has expressed no desire to talk about concrete partners, they emphasised that their current position on the market is a confirmation of a multi-year investment cycle under the auspices of the Pošta2022 Development Strategy.

"Over recent years, HP has strongly turned to its core business and the development of its logistics capacity. The construction of the new sorting centre, as one of the most modern logistics centres in this part of Europe, has positioned the post office as an important logistics partner in this part of the European Union and the region. Modern infrastructure is crucial,'' they emphasised from HP, which will soon start installing the first parcel machines, an infrastructure that will enable users to easily pick up their packages, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The first 150 will be placed in accessible locations in the coming months, and users who choose to receive a package through this channel will be able to pick up their shipment when it suits them.

As for the prospect of Amazon in Croatia and many tight lips, the result of Amazon adn HP's ''flirting'' is yet to be seen.

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