Iceland Post’s philatelic department, “Postphil,” is set to close operations at the end of this year following a recent announcement from Vilhajalmur Sigurdsson, head of philately for the Nordic nation’s postal service.
After Iceland’s final two issues of 2019 – on Sept. 12 and Oct. 31 – Postphil “will be closed down for good and will stop serving stamp collectors, domestic and foreign, altogether,” Sigurdsson said. After about 90 years of service, the department is suffering from a constant decline in customers and revenue, which is a point of contention for new CEO Birgir Jonsson, who came to the helm of Iceland Post this May.
Jonsson’s focus is eliminating everything unprofitable, including Postphil, as Iceland Post undergoes “severe operating difficulties,” Sigurdsson added.
As of Aug. 20, Iceland Post laid off about 50 people across the company, with 80 full-time positions expected to be cut this year.
The current management also prefers “to stop issuing new stamps altogether, but on the basis of current law, Iceland Post cannot unilaterally decide to do so,” said Sigurdsson, who’s set to leave Iceland Post this September after two decades as the head of Postphil. New stamps will be issued by Iceland Post in 2020 and 2021, after which time existing stocks – enough to last “many years” – will be used to meet demand.
If the Icelandic government decides the philatelic program is culturally important, a private contractor may also be hired to produce and issue the country’s stamps going forward.