EC study on cross border parcel delivery

The European Commission commissioned a study into cross border parcel delivery price differentials as part of the EC’s focus on improving competition in cross border e-commerce. The findings by the Universite Saint Louis Bruxelles can be downloaded from the Europa website here.

The research found that there are a number of factors determining the cross border pricing of parcels within the EU. Where a postal operator has its own company to deliver parcels within the destination country (as Royal Mail does in France), prices can be lower in delivering to the customer country.

The connectivity between two countries in terms of mail can impact the price differential as well. Where there is a lot of postal communications between two countries the price will be lower than between two that have relatively little.

Size and weight have an impact on the price, in much the same way as occurs with the domestic price of parcels. Special Delivery and Tracked items tend to have a higher cost where it comes to price differential as well. Germany’s Deutsche Post DHL has recently launched a tag service for parcels going abroad where for a relatively low price you can put a data tag on an outbound parcel and this will be tracked even in the destination country.

The research has been done as the EC focuses on how to drive competition and encourage cross border e-commerce trade within the EU. In the coming years there may well be rules instituted across the EU to control prices between countries and level the playing field for e-commerce businesses. This should increase cross border competition and improve the lot for e-commerce companies who will not pay excessive fees to have their goods delivered outside of their own country but still within the economic and political union area.

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