PostNL ordered to give regional mail firms access to national network
The Dutch postal regulator has warned universal service provider PostNL not to discriminate between mail collected by regional mail companies and the mail of its own customers. The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) said that as the only truly nationwide delivery network in the Netherlands, regional postal companies rely on PostNL to complete next-day deliveries outside their own regions.
But, the regulator said regional postal companies are important in providing competition within the important business mail sector.
The ACM said regional firms, along with PostNL’s national rivals Sandd, are important in offering businesses choice, and in ensuring prices are kept low.
PostNL must therefore provide regional postal firms with access to its network of delivery points and sorting centres without favouring the mail it has collected itself, the regulator said.
The warning to PostNL came after the regulator carried out a review of competition within the Dutch postal sector, which began in January.
The review came after new regulations gave the ACM new powers to act in order to promote competition within the postal industry, including the ability to impose certain obligations on companies seen to have significant power in the market.
The ACM’s verdict is now subject to consultation with industry stakeholders, with a final decision on what should be done due in the spring 2015.
Henk Don, a member of the ACM board, said: “The business market is by far the largest segment of the postal market. Businesses are responsible for approximately 95% of all mail in the Netherlands. We believe that businesses must be able to choose what postal company handles their mail needs.
“Competition in the business mail market leads to improved service, customized service, and lower prices for businesses, and ultimately also for consumers.”