European Commission presents road map for integrated EU parcel delivery market to boost e-commerce, ensure e-retailers, consumers have access to affordable, high-quality parcel delivery services
December 16, 2013
– Christmas season is a time when more people than usual are sending parcels, and the delivery market is being put to the test. The Commission has today adopted a communication on completing the Single Market for parcel delivery to boost e-commerce in the EU, and to ensure that e-retailers and consumers have access to affordable and high-quality parcel delivery services.
The communication is a follow-up to last year's Green Paper on an integrated parcel delivery market (IP/12/1289). It builds on the results of the Green paper consultation and the work undertaken so far by the Commission and stakeholders, and sets out further actions to address delivery problems and challenges faced by consumers and e-retailers in the EU.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said: "The e-commerce driven parcel delivery market is characterised by rapid growth and innovation, but also by signs of some market failures, particularly in the area of cross-border delivery. Further action is required to provide e-retailers and consumers with high-quality, accessible and affordable parcel delivery services, taking due account of the needs of SMEs and of less-advanced or accessible regions. The industry is leading the effort, but we expect results soon and will follow up so that commitments are met."
Main elements of the roadmap:
The communication sets out the issues at stake concerning the (incomplete) market for cross-border parcel delivery, and the challenges experienced by consumers, e-retailers and delivery operators. It outlines three main objectives which the Commission aims to accomplish in this area, and it attributes specific tasks and roles to various stakeholders in order to achieve these objectives.
Increased transparency and information: (i) by calling for dedicated platforms (web portals) and web comparison tools; (ii) by encouraging voluntary codes of conduct or codes of good practice; (iii) by calling for collection of relevant market data on domestic and cross-border parcel flows.
Improved availability, quality and affordability of delivery solutions: through exploring and developing solutions to better interconnect information systems and open interfaces to allow data exchange, facilitate tracking and tracing and labelling and provide for effective returns.
Enhanced complaint handling and redress mechanisms for consumers: delivery operators, e-retailers and consumer associations should jointly ensure better co-operation with regard to complaint handling and consumer protection systems.
The Commission will facilitate this collaborative process through dedicated fora and workshops, and will closely monitor progress. It will take stock after 18 months in order to assess whether additional measures are needed.
This roadmap forms part of the Commission's on-going work on e-commerce development. E-commerce is one of the main drivers of a more prosperous and competitive Europe, with significant potential for contributing to economic growth and employment.
The European Commission’s Communication on e-commerce (see IP/12/10) together with other EU initiatives identified the physical delivery of goods ordered online as one of the key elements for e-commerce growth. Delivery services offered by e-retailers are one of the fundamental factors influencing a consumer's decision to shop with them. Currently, delivery problems and product returns are among the top concerns of both e-shoppers and e-retailers in the EU. Following the adoption of the Commission's Green Paper of November 2012 on ‘an integrated parcel delivery market for the growth of e-commerce in the EU’, a broad consensus has emerged among all parties concerned, both on the issues and challenges identified and on the urgent need to address them. Delivery operators, e-retailers and consumer organisations have taken part in constructive discussions at various dedicated conferences and other fora. Many operators have started to develop solutions that might better correspond to the expectations of their customers. Through this Roadmap, the Commission aims to ensure that tangible improvements are made as quickly as possible. A flexible and well-performing EU-wide delivery system will contribute directly to the enormous potential of e-commerce for boosting growth and creating jobs.
See also MEMO/13/1151
Link to the roadmap:
Link to the Green paper and related information:
Further information on the postal services: