Three more postal operators – Austria Post, Latvia Post and MaltaPost – are set to join the International Postal Corporation’s integrated parcel delivery network later this summer.
The additions will take the E-Parcel Group (EPG) up to 29 members as of 1st September, including operators spanning much of Europe, Scandinavia and the Baltic republics, as well as the US Postal Service.
The EPG was created in 1996 by nine operators in northern Europe seeking to provide a business-to-business parcel service allowing two-day delivery with a supporting infrastructure including track-and-trace capabilities.
Today the network has seen business-to-consumer volumes increasingly part of the mix, but with the expanded membership it still offers a track and trace system, a pay-by-performance system and an automated customer service system linking members’ call centres.
IPC spokesperson Eva Wouters told Post&Parcel that Austria Post would be joining the EPG in August, while Latvia Post and MaltaPost would be joining in September.
The Brussels-based IPC provides monitoring services for the network and its Customer Service System now links together 262 call centres and more than 1,000 customer service agents around the world.
It is currently in the process of working on speed and quality improvements in the customer service system with a view to the increasing demands of the ecommerce segment, which should be implemented mid-2013.
Latvian Post said it was joining the EPG to ensure higher quality cross-border parcel services, and was expecting significant improvements in customer service capabilities from its membership.
It said one key benefit of its participation will be that international packages will be sent direct to Latvian addresses, rather than recipients having to collect items from post offices.
Latvian Post will be operating its side of the EPG service through its Latvian Post Express unit.
The Post’s chairman Māris Kleinbergs said the improvements were part of his company’s efforts to make itself more competitive in all segments of the postal market.
He said: “Latvian Post’s joining of the EPG is only one step for postal service speed and quality, but a very important one, as it will provide more efficiency for both the international package delivery service, as well as increasing the level of customer service.”
Source: Post&Parcel/IPC/Latvian Post