The postal company have already been forced to increase its storage capacity, resorting to other warehouses to store these orders, explained the weekly newspaper.

A combination of an increase in online sales due to the pandemic, alongside new VAT rules, appear to have exacerbated delays in the delivery of packages across Portugal in regard to orders from third countries.

Official information is not precise regarding the exact number of packages held in CTT’s warehouses. The only information released confirms that 450,000 orders arrived from outside the EU between 1 July and 21 September - a number that Expresso considers to be far removed from the actual number of orders awaiting shipment.

CTT attributes the delays to the new VAT rules and to the increase in the number of online purchases during the pandemic. Additionally, CTT told to The Portugal News that sellers of goods from outside the EU also take responsibility, claiming that these private entities have to adapt their management to the new VAT rules. “CTT’s current customs process is based on prior notice information from the company that sells the goods outside European Union”, which means that a proof of payment of VAT must be provided from the seller to the postal operator of destination - in this case CTT - by an electronic message complying with a specific protocol.

Since 1 July 2021, the day when the new directive that amends the VAT regime came into force, all goods imported from outside the EU are subjected to VAT (IVA).