Rounding up the biggest stories of the week on Post&Parcel, including a state aid order against Deutsche Post and bpost, a major deal for Post Office Ltd, and a parcel alliance for Russia…
Deutsche Post and bpost told to give back millions in state aid
The EU Commission ordered Deutsche Post and bpost to hand back hundreds of millions of euros in state aid.
The order came as the European Union’s executive branch also approved billions in state aid given to the two postal services from the 1990s onwards, along with new state aid for France’s La Poste and Hellenic Post.
Deutsche Post said the ruling was “incomprehensible and has no basis in fact”, confirming its intention to file an appeal. bpost said it was considering its position, describing the Commission’s verdict as “debatable”.
Royal Mail deal paves way to Post Office independence
The UK’s Post Office Ltd took another big step towards independence from postal service Royal Mail Group, with a 10-year contract to continue Royal Mail services through UK post offices.
UK postal minister Ed Davey confirmed to Parliament that the contract had been signed this month, giving “certainty” to the nation’s subpostmasters that the full range of Royal Mail products and services would be available via post office counters.
Post Office Ltd managing director Paula Vennells said the deal with Royal Mail was “vital” for a long-term and sustainable Post Office, and good for customers and employees of the Post Office.
USPS raises its postal rates
The US Postal Service introduced new postal rates from the start of the week, with a single First Class Mail stamp rising one cent in price to 45 cents.
Overall, the average rate increase for all market-dominant services is 2.133%, linked to the price of inflation. First Class Mail and Periodical rates have increased by on average 2.133%, with Standard Class rising by 2.04% and market-dominant Package Services increase rates by 2.115%.
USPS also started a few new products and services this week, including a “Second Ounce Free” initiative designed to encourage First Class Mail volumes.
Franco-German alliance to take on Russia
Rival parcel delivery firms Hermes and DPD have launched a joint venture to develop a network of Parcel Shops throughout Russia, to be branded Hermes-DPD and run as in-store counters working closely with well-known Russian retail chains.
The network already has 300 outlets set up, the companies said, spread through Moscow, St Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Samara, Krasnodar and Rostov-na-Donu.
By 2014, the companies said their network would boast 1,500 shops in 44 of the country’s major cities.
There’s still time to get your last-minute tickets to the World Mail and Express Americas 2012 conference and exhibition, which takes place in Miami on February 5-7. Top industry speakers will include USPS President Paul Vogel, Brazil Post President Wagner Pinheiro de Oliviera, UPAEP Secretary General Serrana Bassini and ALACOPP President Alfredo Romero. Click here for more details »