The Spanish competition authority has launched a wide-ranging investigation to decide if Amazon’s rapidly expanding fulfilment service should be legally defined as a postal service.
The Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia (CNMC), which regulates the postal sector, announced yesterday that it has agreed to open a case “to determine if Amazon satisfies the requirements to be considered a postal operator”. The investigation could take up to three months.
“The Directorate of Transport and the Postal Sector believes that there are indications that, in its e-commerce activity, Amazon provides services that may be considered postal services,” it stated.
The CNMC said the investigation will take into account “the characteristics of the shipments that it manages, the activities involved in said shipments, the legal relationship it maintains with freelancers who distribute its parcels and with third-party parcel delivery companies, the management of their self-service lockers, and others”.
Under the Spanish postal law from 2013, postal operators have to ensure confidentiality of postal communications, observe laws to protect the rights of workers and users, and comply with regulations involving tax or immigration matters, the authority noted.
Amazon has been expanding its logistics activities in Spain rapidly over the last few years. Its network includes two large fulfilment centres, five regional logistics centres, at least a dozen local delivery stations for final-mile deliveries and two urban logistics centres in Madrid and Barcelona for same-day Prime Now deliveries. The next major facility will be a 55,000 sqm regional logistics centre close to Murcia Airport in south-east Spain, according to recent Spanish media reports.