Rounding up the biggest stories of the week in the mail and express industry, as featured on Post&Parcel.
The European Commission’s top antitrust official said this week that approval for the EUR 5.16bn acquisition of TNT Express by UPS will hinge on whether FedEx and DHL will give the resulting express delivery giant a run for its money.
Joaquín Almunia, vice president of the EU Commission for competition policy, was speaking at a European policy summit in Nicosia, Cyprus, part of the Cyprus Presidency of the EU Council.
He said of the integrators: “These companies offer a service that has a broad impact on our economy, especially for cross-border trade, so it is important that customers continue to have access to these services at competitive conditions.”
A major regulatory review of the US Postal Service’s plan to close hundreds of mail processing plants across the United States warned that resulting cost savings could be as little as $46m a year.
The Postal Regulatory Commission said with current productivity levels, the $2bn annual cost savings predicted by the USPS would be difficult to achieve in the plan to close 229 of the 461 US area mail plants over the next two years.
The 10-month review concluded by the Commission on Friday has suggested the best the Postal Service could achieve would be $1.9bn savings. But to achieve it, USPS would have to improve productivity at all its plants by 20%.
The world’s post offices now provide banking services for more than 1bn people – but their potential to aid the economic development of nations is being “underused” according to new research from the Universal Postal Union.
The UPU issued a report at its Congress in Doha, Qatar, yesterday, stating that 51 postal operators provided 1.6bn deposit and savings accounts as of 2010.
The report suggested that at least 500m unbanked people could be included within the global financial system over the next 10 years if the other 141 national postal operators decided to offer postal banking.
The UK parcel market has seen a surge in the number of customers shopping around for another carrier, according to a major new survey out this month from Triangle Management Services.
The UK Domestic Express Parcels Distribution Survey was based on 900 in-depth interviews with parcel shippers benchmarking their carriers on various aspects of their services.
The report, bringing together annual surveys on the UK business-to-business and business-to-consumer segments, showed that the number of respondents who “deliberately stopped using a carrier” doubled in the last 12 months.
Royal Mail is preparing to launch a new parcel tracking feature for its returns service, Packetpost, from early next year.
The British postal operator has seen growing demand from retailers for better visibility for products being returned by their customers, while consumers are also looking for more reassurance when returning items.
Packetpost Returns with Tracking is set to launch in February 2013, offering a system for retailers to generate returns labels with tracking numbers, which consumers and retailers alike can access to monitor items returned via post offices.