The Government announced today (October 15) that the Postmaster General (PMG) will adjust the principal postage rates with effect from January 1, 2016. In addition, the Post Office (Amendment) Regulation 2015 will be tabled at the Legislative Council to adjust certain postal fees under the Post Office Regulations (Cap. 98A) with effect from February 1, 2016.
"Hongkong Post (HKP) is committed to providing reliable and efficient postal services to the public at reasonable prices. While the HKP will continue with its efforts to generate revenue through business development and manage its costs, there is a need to periodically adjust postage rates and postal fees in order to offset escalating operating costs, in particular increases in major cost components such as staff costs, air conveyance costs and terminal dues payments," a spokesman for HKP said.
An important objective of this adjustment exercise is to rationalise the postal structure to better reflect underlying costs. To align with global developments within the postal industry under the Universal Postal Union, postage rates for Local Mail (Letters and Packets), Air Mail (Letters and Packets) and Surface Mail (Letters and Packets) will be set by reference to the new mail format classifications, namely Small Letters, Large Letters and Packets, and weight. In step with the introduction of the new mail format classifications, the weight tiers for Local Mail (Letters and Packets) will be rationalised, and the sub-classes of Air Mail (Letters and Packets) (i.e. Air Mail – Second Class) and Surface Mail (Letters and Packets) (i.e. Surface Mail – Printed Papers and Surface Mail – Small Packets) will be abolished. An additional geographical zone, Zone 3, will be introduced for Air Mail (Letters and Packets) and Surface Mail (Letters and Packets) to cover selected destinations now included in Zone 2 which have a higher costs base. These changes aim to modernise the postage structure for local and international mail in response to industry and market developments and to better reflect the "user pays" principle.
'Second Class' items under Air Mail (Letters and Packets) as well as 'Printed Papers' and 'Small Packets' under Surface Mail (Letters and Packets) share the same, if not higher, mail processing costs as other mail items, and their discounted postage rates have to be subsidised by other revenue streams. A postage approach based only on mail format and weight is a more rational and equitable approach,' the spokesman said.
For Local Parcels, while the postage rates for items weighing 9 kilograms or below will be adjusted to reflect the cumulative inflation since the last adjustment, the postage rates for items above 9kg will be reduced by up to 28.6 per cent.
Despite the adjustments, postage rates in Hong Kong will remain fairly low. Around 80 per cent, 50 per cent and 25 per cent of Local Mail (Letters and Packets), Air Mail (Letters and Packets) and Surface Mail (Letters and Packets) respectively will not be affected by this round of postage adjustment. Overall, postage rates for around 74 per cent of total postal traffic will remain unchanged. The overall weighted average increase in principal postages rates in the current exercise is 6.2 per cent, which is less than the cumulative inflation since the last adjustment in October 2013 (i.e. 9 per cent).
The Post Office (Amendment) Regulation 2015 will be tabled at the Legislative Council to adjust the rates of 14 postal fees under the Post Office Regulations (Cap. 98A) and cover the cumulative inflation since the respective last adjustments, revise the rates and service conditions of three postal fees and make other miscellaneous amendments.
Details of postage rate/ postal fee adjustments are at Annex.