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

Lauren Simmonds

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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.


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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