The week that was: 13 August 2010

European Commision to establish regulators group, UBS to advise on Royal Mail’s future and FedEx largest station expanded in China. A big hello to all our readers, and welcome to ‘the week that was’ – your weekly news round-up for everything mail and express.

This week the European Commission launched the European Regulators Group for Postal Services (ERGP). Strengthened cooperation among independent national regulatory authorities for the postal sector is becoming imperative in view of fully open postal markets. In this context, ERGP will serve as a body for reflection, discussion and advice to the Commission in the postal services field. It will facilitate consultation, coordination and cooperation between the independent national regulatory authorities in the Member States, and between those authorities and the Commission. The inauguration meeting, which is expected to take place at the beginning of 2011, will see the adoption of the annual Work Programme of the EGRP and the election of its chair and vice-chair.

In the UK, the government said it has appointed investment bank UBS to advise it on options for the future ownership of Royal Mail. A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said UBS would investigate the various options for the future of Royal Mail, including a sale of part, or all, of the business, and a potential multibillion pound stock market flotation. Legislation to enable a potential sale or flotation is currently being drawn-up and is expected to be introduced in the autumn, he said, adding that Royal Mail’s pension deficit and the regulation of the postal sector would also be examined.

The new government, said earlier this summer it is assessing bringing some private ownership into Royal Mail. The previous Labour government in July 2009 shelved plans to part-privatise the mail operator, citing poor economic conditions. Hiring UBS appears to move the new coalition government a step closer to at least a part-privatisation of Royal Mail. However, any such privatisation would be politically sensitive with communications industry unions that have historically opposed such moves, and the government would likely proceed with caution.

Jetting over to Asia, FedEx announced the expansion of its largest operation station in China located in Shangai. Following the introduction of its first Boeing 777 Freighter service that directly connects Shanghai with the FedEx Super Hub in Memphis, Tennessee, USA, FedEx Express, has stepped up its transportation network and facilities investment in the China market.  The station has nearly 180 employees and it is able to sort up to 2,800 shipments per hour. “Shanghai is the center of east China, which is an important part of the FedEx strategy in the Chinese market,” said Audrey Cheong, managing director of operations, International Service, FedEx China.

And finally…

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