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The universal postal service includes both domestic and cross-border services and comprises the following:

  • the clearance, sorting, transport and delivery of postal items up to 2 kg;
  • the clearance, sorting, transport and delivery of postal parcels provided at single piece tariff up to 10 kg;
  • the delivery of postal parcels provided at single piece tariff coming from other Member States and weighing up to 20 kg;
  • the services for registered items and insured items.

bpost has been initially designated by law as universal service provider until 31 December 2018. Since 1 January 2019, bpost will then continue to provide the universal service on the basis of a management contract concluded with the State for a period of five years, i.e. until 31 December 2023. This means that bpost is obliged to provide the universal postal service on the entire territory at a defined quality and a reasonable price.

Other companies may also provide universal postal services albeit that for the delivery of letter post within the universal service – registered or not – a licence has to be obtained from BIPT.

Letter post

“Letter post” (or a “letter”) is a communication in written form on any kind of physical medium to be conveyed and delivered at the address indicated by the sender on the item itself or on its wrapping. Books, catalogues, newspapers and periodicals shall not be regarded as letter post.

Parcels

Postal parcels provided at single piece tariff up to 10 kg are regarded as universal service parcels, unless the postal service in question has to be considered as a service that is clearly distinct from the universal postal service because of its added value. The King may, by decree adopted after deliberation in the Council of Ministers, specify the criteria on the basis of which these services and value-added items can be distinguished from the services falling within the universal service, and the minimum requirements to be met by the standard services. To date, this Royal Decree has not yet been adopted. Express services are considered to be clearly distinct from the scope of the universal service. This weight limit is extended to 20 kg in case of delivery of the postal parcels coming from other Member States. As a rule parcels coming from residential customers that are delivered to postal offices/Postal Points are part of the universal service.

Registered items

A registered item is a postal item guaranteed on a flat-rate basis against risks of loss, theft or damage. The sender receives a proof of handing in and can, at his request, receive a proof of delivery.

He who wishes to provide this service needs to apply for a licence.

Registered items

A registered item is a postal item guaranteed on a flat-rate basis against risks of loss, theft or damage. The sender receives a proof of handing in and can, at his request, receive a proof of delivery.

Insured items

When an insured item is sent, the value of your national registered mail is insured against loss, theft or damage. The item is delivered to the addressee or its proxy once they have signed.

Newspapers and periodicals

Newspapers are printed publications that appear five times per week and comprise multiple articles of general information. Considered as periodicals are reviews, magazines and messages that are published in a beforehand fixed interval, which in no case may exceed 3 months and this for an indefinite period.

At least 30% of the total surface has to contain editorial articles of general information.

Direct mail

Addressed publicity or direct mail is a communication consisting exclusively of advertising, marketing or publicity material, containing the same message, with the exception of the name and address of the addressee and possibly other variables/parameters that do not affect the nature of the message, which is sent to a significant number of addressees and which is to be conveyed and delivered at the address indicated by the sender on the item itself or on its wrapping.

Non-universal postal services

Addressed items that do not fall within the weight limits of the universal service (2 kg for letters, direct mail, newspapers and periodicals - 10 kg for postal parcels and 20 kg for parcels coming from other Member States) are considered to be non-universal postal items.

Since the entry into force of the Act of 26 January 2018 on postal services, the delivery of bulk parcels is excluded from the universal service.

Regardless of the weight of the items, postal services and value-added postal items, such as the express services are also excluded from the universal service.

Unaddressed publicity

Postal items are necessarily addressed items. The delivery of unaddressed publicity can therefore not be considered as a postal service monitored by BIPT.

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