The Norwegian postal service is quickly becoming a shadow of its former self. After a wave of post office closures earlier this year, more loom now as well.
The mountain town of Førde was having a hard time this week, for example, after first Telenor announced it was shutting down operations and slashing jobs and then Posten followed suit. Førde’s post office will close and all six of its employees will lose their jobs.
Posten is also closing post offices in Tønsberg and at Nordstrand in Oslo. What’s left of postal services will be offered on a much smaller scale through so-called post i butikk, with postal counters set up in some grocery stores.
The closures cut costs for Posten at a time when the number of letters sent through the postal system has been cut in half, replaced by electronic communication. “When revenues fall, we must look at other ways of organizing ourselves,” a Posten spokesman told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
Meanwhile, the few remaining post offices in Oslo, for example, are often packed with customers who face postal rates that are double those in the US and spotty delivery. One large residential building in downtown Oslo failed to get its mail delivered for many weeks last summer, while the postal system’s customs duty collectors have been known to charge high fees on packages from abroad when none should be due.