Iceland’s Post Office Responds to Consumer Shift with Closures

Iceland Post will close ten post offices in June, transitioning to delivery via postal vehicles and post boxes, and introducing home delivery services in select areas, reflecting changes in consumer demand.

Decreased demand for counter services

Changes to postal services at ten locations across the country are planned for the beginning of June. As noted in a press release on the website of Iceland Post (Íslandspóstur), there are plans to close five collaborative post offices and an equal number of independently operated post offices.

After these closures, deliveries will be handled by postal vehicle drivers and through post boxes in the following locations: Hvammstangi in Northwest Iceland; Siglufjörður, Dalvík, and Ólafsfjörður in North Iceland; Búðardalur and Grundarfjörður on the Snæfellsnes peninsula; Fáskrúðsfjörður, Eskifjörður, Breiðdalsvík, and Neskaupstaður in East Iceland.

Post boxes, already installed at most of the aforementioned places, will also be set up next month in Búðardalur, Ólafsfjörður, Breiðdalsvík, and Siglufjörður. Kjartan Flosason, Head of Post Terminal at Iceland Post, emphasises the development of services in line with changing needs and consumer demands.

“There has been a decrease in demand for counter services at post offices. Therefore, we are focused on developing alternative solutions. Our most satisfied customers are those who use post boxes. Customers can now mail items in post boxes. Like always, the post boxes are open all year round, 24 hours a day,” Kjartan is quoted as saying in the press release.

Postal trucks will also be operational in these areas. “Home delivery services will now be offered in Hvammstangi, Dalvík, Breiðdalsvík, and Ólafsfjörður. It’s worth mentioning that this service was not available before these changes,” Kjartan stated.

Discussions have taken place with the staff at the post offices that are set to close, according to Kjartan. “The changes will affect six full-time positions. Several employees have been offered different roles or relocation. I want to thank the excellent staff who are now leaving their positions and wish them success in their next endeavours.”

No More Post Office on Post Office Street

The post office in downtown Reykjavík, which has been in operation in the same building on Pósthússtræti [Post Office Street] for more than a century, closed its doors for good on Thursday, RÚV reports.

There has been a post office on on the corner of Austurstræti and Pósthússtræti since 1916, but there’s been a post office on the latter street since all the way back to 1872, when it was located in the building that has long housed Hotel Borg. The storied post office building is in the ownership of a rental company and in addition to the rent on the property being quite high, access to the post office, which was located on the second floor, was not ideal for all customers.

At the same time that the downtown location closed, so did the branch at the Eiðistorg shopping mall in Seltjarnarnes, west of downtown Reykjavík. In place of these two branches, the post office is opening a hub on Hagatorg, just across from the University of Iceland.

Although the Icelandic postal service anticipates that service will be better at the new Hagatorg location, there has been something of an outpouring of reminiscences from people who are already regretting the loss of this downtown institution.

One of these people is Guðfríður Lilja Grétarsdóttir, who now lives in France but came down to the post office today to mail a package to a friend in Belgium. “I heard on the radio news at noon that the post office would be closing so I ran as fast as I could so that I would be here at this historic moment, at a definite moment of nostalgia and regret in this beautiful building.”

Iconic Reykjavík Post Office to Close in November

Reykjavík’s only downtown post office is set to close in November, bringing over 150 years of service at the location to a close, RÚV reports. The post office, along with another outlet in Seltjarnarnes, is being closed and relocated to Hagatorg square in west Reykjavík.

The post office in downtown Reykjavík has been housed in the same building for over a century. It is located on Pósthússtræti, which translates literally to Post Office Street.

“Pósthússtræti has been a post office street from the beginning,” says historian Guðjón Friðriksson. The street was named after an even older post office operated in a wooden house where Hotel Borg now stands. That office was opened in 1872 and was in service until the current building came into use. “There have been post offices on this street for 150 years or longer,” Guðjón says. “I think it’s a bit of a shame that this old hallmark of Reykjavík should go.”

Iceland Post says the office is moving to accommodate the changing needs of its customers. “Of course it’s difficult to leave Pósthússtræti, especially in light of its history, but unfortunately no other solution was found and it had become clear a long time ago the post office would need to move into more adequate housing,” a representative told RÚV.

According to the company, the inaccessibility of the location has hampered both customers and staff. The office is located on a second floor and only accessible via a flight of stairs. It was also proving difficult to receive shipments at the location due to a lack of parking spaces nearby. The company asserts that its wide network of post offices and home delivery services will be maintained, and additional mailboxes will be installed.

Iceland Post sold the building on Pósthússtræti in 2003 and has been renting at the location since. The building has also housed youth community centre Hitt Húsið for several years. Guðjón Auðunsson, CEO of Reitir, the company which owns the building, says it remains unclear what will happen to the space once the post office vacates the premises.