EC likely to intervene in cross border delivery costs

The European Union was originally set up as a trading bloc between nations in the club. With e-commerce, a new issue has been shown in the charges to customers for delivery of goods within the European Union. The Digital Single Market Strategy, to be launched in 2016, will focus on harmonising cross border delivery costs within the 26 member nations.

Currently there are almost as many charging systems for international post and parcel delivery as there are nations in the EU. Some are seen as fair while others may well be hampering trade within the EU due to cost and complication. E-commerce has shown this weakness, with customers and e-tailers seeing growth in trade within the EU almost as fast as the growth of the industry in its own right. Indeed, many e-tailers never set out to export but find themselves exporting very quickly after starting up.

It is no surprise then that the European Commission, which at core is interested in the free movement of goods and trade, has developed an interest in making internal cross border trade easier for customers and businesses throughout the economic and political trade bloc.

The Financial Times this weekend quoted an EC spokeswoman as saying that the EC will “launch measures to enhance price transparency and regulatory oversight” of the cross-border parcel delivery market in early 2016.

As well as price structures, the FT reported this weekend that one of the options being considered by the EC is introducing measures making it easier for rival operators to access existing delivery networks. This is already happening to some extent in The Netherlands, where smaller operators can use the national operator’s delivery network, and are being helped in doing so by the national postal regulator. Another option being considered is a price comparison website to foster free market competition among operators, and let the market drive prices down.