It has now become more expensive to mail letters and packages in Qatar, after the country’s state-run postal service raised its service prices for the first time in nearly a decade.
Starting Jan. 1, Q-Post increased the cost of all its offerings, a representative confirmed to Doha News yesterday.
“Prices had not increased for more than eight years,” the staffer said. “We brought in new prices from Jan. 1 for all services to enhance the service to customers, as we will launch new branches soon.
He did not elaborate on where the new branches would be or when they would open.
There are currently 47 post office branches across Qatar, in addition to the general post office, according to its website.
The cost of shipping items via Q-Post are worked out depending on the weight of the item and the country it is sent to.
Q-Post has an online calculator that works out the costs of postal items on its website.
But for example, the cost of sending a small birthday card by air mail to the UK has risen from QR4 to QR9, while a bigger card now costs QR20 (previously QR7.5).
And posting a small letter (up to 20g) domestically in Qatar now costs QR3.5, whereas previously the price was around QR1.
The cost of renting a private PO box at the main post office on the Corniche has also now risen to QR500 from around QR300 for one year, while a corporate box costs QR1,500.
Though the company did publish the new prices in a short statement on its website in November, existing customers told Doha News that they were not advised of the changed rates until they renewed their annual rental.
Usually a big fan of #qatarpost but they just sneakily more than doubled the yearly fee for private post boxes
— Rachel Morris (@rachelannmorris) January 6, 2016
The increases appear to have caught many regular customers by surprise, with some saying they have seen rates more than double recently.
— The Sheinz (@thekohat) January 10, 2016
It was the organization’s first rate hike in 10 years, but customers said they had been given no prior notice for the change in pricing structure.
Qatar’s postal company has been trying to widen its offering to customers in recent years. In October, it announced plans to launch a new service called Ship 2-Q, which is set to begin its pilot phase this March.
Rivaling the Dubai-based private shop-and-ship firm Aramex, the service aims to make it easier for customers to shop from online portals such as Amazon, which currently restrict deliveries to Qatar.
The new system would allow residents to rent “virtual addresses” outside the country from the state-owned postal company, the company’s chairman and managing director Faleh Mohammed Al Naemi previously said.
At the time, he did not elaborate on Q-Post’s planned rates or provide specific details on how Ship 2-Q would work, apart from saying that customers would be able to have addresses in the US, Europe and Asia.
Also planned for launch this spring is an “e-locker” rental system that would allow residents to collect their deliveries at their convenience from shopping malls, residential neighborhoods and academic campuses by March 2016.
Finally, a home mail delivery service, which was first announced more than two years ago, is still in the works.
In November, Q-Post said it would roll out a version of this on the Pearl, with delivery to Towers 6 and 7 initially, and expanding the service to more homes this year.
While letters and parcels won’t be delivered directly to people’s doors, residents can rent a PO box in the tower, and pick up the mail from there.