The week that was: 7 December 2012
Summing up the biggest stories of the week on Post&Parcel, with a mail boycott threat in the UK, Google getting into the shipping business and UPS forging a new alliance with the US Postal Service…
Britain’s major postal union has threatened to block mail from Royal Mail’s private sector competitors from reaching UK households, in protest against the continuing liberalisation of the postal market.
The Communication Workers Union said today that it will hold a vote among members in the New Year over a boycott of the entire GBP 1.4bn Downstream Access market. The boycott would affect about 44% of all letters in the UK postal system, and about 75% of all bulk mail – around 7.2bn of the 16.4bn letters delivered each year in the UK.
The union is protesting against the “mismanagement” of the way Britain’s postal market has been opened up to private sector competition since 2006, under European postal laws. In particular, the CWU is angry about one of Royal Mail’s largest rivals, PostNL subsidiary TNT Post UK, starting up trials delivering mail direct to households within West London.
Deutsche Post opened the first of a new generation of highly automated parcel delivery centres, in Braunschweig, northern Germany.
The new “MechZB” is the first of 25 new facilities due to go live by the end of next year in Germany, to modernise the postal service’s parcel network.
It is part of a EUR 750m investment Deutsche Post is making in making its parcel network more efficient by 2015.
A team of ex-army professionals is setting up a new nationwide network of independent parcel shops, with ambitious plans to open 2,000 outlets by mid-2013.
The firm says it has “strong funding support”, but is not aligned with any particular parcel carrier, and says its plan is to work closely with retailers and ecommerce merchants to provide an alternative location for their customers to pick up fully tracked parcels when they cannot be at home to receive them, along with “Click and Collect” orders.
Local Letterbox sees its niche in the GBP 1bn that Britain’s 180m missed parcels deliveries are said to cost the retail industry each year.
Google has expanded into the shipping business, with the acquisition of Canadian parcel collection terminal business BufferBox.
BufferBox confirmed the move on Friday, describing the move as an “incredible journey”, just weeks after launching its first network of parcel terminals in North America.
The company was founded in May 2011 to provide automated self-service parcel collection stations, and has received accelerating support from Google’s Y Combinator programme. It is currently based just downstairs from Google’s regional office in Waterloo, Ontario.
The world’s largest postal service and the world’s largest package delivery company have agreed to work more closely on cutting their respective carbon emissions.
The US Postal Service and UPS said this week they were going to share sustainability data as existing operational partners in the delivery chain, in a “Blue and Brown makes Green” partnership that could also help both companies cut costs and develop new products.
USPS is part of the Environmental Measurement and Monitoring System, run by the International Post Corporation to share best practice among the 25 postal operators around the world, to achieve a 20% cut in emissions by 2020. With the new agreement, as a subcontractor of the Postal Service, UPS will share data with the Postal Service on indirect emissions, to contribute to the reporting and monitoring goals of the EMMS.