Breaking down barriers in European parcel delivery


The parcel delivery sector is a vital instrument in facilitating e-commerce. Pure online merchants who cannot offer their customers the option of in-store pick-up are especially reliant on a functioning cross-border parcel delivery market when deciding to trade internationally. However, according to Ecommerce Europe’s Cross-border e-Commerce Barometer 2016, logistics and/or distribution continue to be among the top-3 barriers to cross-border e-commerce.

For its discussion session on e-Logistics, Ecommerce Europe brought together a wide variety of business leaders, online merchants, European policy makers and other stakeholders to discuss two of the most pressing concerns in e-logistics today. In the morning participants discussed how to achieve consumer-focused standardization and harmonization in modern cross-border parcel delivery, while in the afternoon, their attention turned to the challenge of encouraging innovative and sustainable solutions.

Standardization and harmonization for better cross-border parcel delivery

Moderated by Simon Denoth, Swiss Broadcasting Corporation’s Deputy Spokesperson, the morning theme session on e-logistics presented innovative solutions catering to the delivery and fulfilment related demands of online shopping in the future and beyond. The session started with an opening by César Tello, Chair of the e-Logistics Working Group of Ecommerce Europe, followed by an introduction by Alan Gershenhorn, Chief Commercial Officer of UPS. Mr. Gershenhorn underlined the fact that the e-commerce sector is booming; however, there is still tremendous room for growth in this sector, which the new Commission proposal, as part of the e-commerce package on parcel delivery, will hopefully foster. Thereafter, the panel focused on better cross-border parcel delivery. The conclusion was drawn that today’s consumers are more connected and want to be offered reasonably priced, fast, and reliable cross-border solutions. The driving force behind this innovation should be the market: standardization initiatives ensure interoperable and workable solutions for all players involved. Participants reflected on recent market innovations.

Smart e-logistics: Innovation and sustainability in parcel delivery

The afternoon session on e-logistics focused on the future of e-logistics. In this session, Bernd Kratz (Managing Director, Executive Management Advisors) focused in his introduction on the collaboration of robot and human and looked forward to the future of Intra-logistics in e-commerce in this context. Walter Trezek, vice-chair of the e-Logistics Working Group of Ecommerce Europe, thereafter gave a reflection on the reinvention of parcel delivery – how will the modification of costs structures and business models change the parcel delivery industry? According to Mr. Trezek, harmonization is the keyword to a sustainable parcel delivery future.

In the panel discussion, it was generally agreed that the delivery sector is constantly developing, and smart solutions revolutionize storage and fulfilment. The session reflected on some of the innovative solutions in the market, as well as efficient and innovative parcel delivery as a force for sustainability. Online merchants and service providers reflected on these much needed evolutions in e-logistics, and discussed which demands from their side should be taken into account.

Ecommerce Europe would like to thank the panelists Mr. Werner Stengg (DG Grow), Mr. David Vuylsteke (PiggyBee), Mr. Darchambeau (URBANTZ), Mr. van den Bos (GS1 Nederland), Mr. Basalisco (Copenhagen Economics) and our speakers Mr. Tello, Mr. Gershenhorn, Mr. Trezek and Mr. Kratz for their valuable contributions.

More information on Ecommerce Europe’s positions can be found here.