2016 edition of the Postal Regulatory Database
Over the past year, we have witnessed events that have confronted today’s world with unpreceded challenges casting long shadows, such as the financial crisis, conflicts, shifting demographics and increasing urbanisation. Europe has not escaped these obstacles and with its proximity to particularly conflictual and instable regions, is also facing the issue of growing numbers of refugees and migrants. In Europe, during the first half of 2016, the Netherlands holds the Presidency of the EU and based on its vision, aspires to develop an Internal Market that functions more efficiently and removes obstacles for members, public and businesses. The Dutch Presidency’s guiding principles are a Union focused on essentials, on making connections and on creating innovative jobs and growth. Its approach is business-focused, pragmatic and in favour of better regulation, which dovetails with the Juncker Commission.
As the world evolves, so does the postal market. Worldwide, postal operators are making efforts to adapt and adjust their services to the new, challenging environment. Postal operators do not operate in a vacuum, but have to react to external factors and influences. From a technological point of view, we are at the beginning of the ‘Internet of Things’ revolution, which is the vital enabler of ‘Internet of Everything’. The latter includes links between people, process and data. In the digital era, the needs of consumers evolve and regulation should try to keep pace with these developments to ensure the sustainability of the postal sector.
In the EU, postal services are urged to contribute to its dynamic single market. That said, the role of postal services has already changed since 2008, when the European Commission published its fourth application report on postal services. The period between 2008 and 2015 was important, as it followed the Full Market Opening (FMO). The evolution in communications, along with the economic downturn accelerate trends such as the decline of letter mail volumes, that along with the high legacy cost of the USO put pressure on the postal sector. While digital communication replaces mail in many aspects, e-Commerce is growing fast and the number of parcels is increasing accordingly.
In its fifth application report, the European Commission takes note of the status of the European postal services market and the progress made for the establishment of the internal postal market. Special attention is paid to the way in which postal services deal with e-Commerce parcels, since one of the Digital Market Strategy’s pillars is to ensure ‘‘better access for consumers and businesses to online goods and services across Europe’’. The e-Commerce market is developing, but its full potential remains untapped for businesses and consumers alike. The European Commission said, “The huge potential of e-commerce means that affordable and reliable parcel delivery services are more important than ever to help realize the potential of the Digital Single Market”. Affordability, accessibility, availability of cross-border parcel delivery services, features such as track and trace, and price transparency have been put in the forefront. The European Commission acknowledges that on average competition is developing slowly in the letter market, while “Competition appears to be intensifying to take advantage of the opportunities offered by e-Commerce”. In the first quarter of 2016, the European Commission will continue to liaise with postal market stakeholders for future actions related to price transparency and regulatory oversight.
You can access the members-only 2016 IPC Regulatory Database here.
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