On 7 April, Ecommerce Europe has participated in the first webinar of a trilogy that the Consultative Committee of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) is conducting on the post COVID-19 e-commerce logistics. Chaired by Mr. Walter Trezek, who is also a representative of Ecommerce Europe, the Consultative Committee is an advisory body of the UPU, which is in turn a United Nations’ organisation that deals with the postal and delivery sector and is tasked with identifying the challenges and solutions of the evolving postal market.
During the first webinar of the series, the Secretary General of Ecommerce Europe, Luca Cassetti, has addressed a keynote speech to kickstart the discussion and present the main highlights of the latest study that Ecommerce Europe has conducted with the aim of collecting data and information on the impact of COVID-19 and the second lockdown measures on the sector. The report, which is publicly available online, takes stock of the results of a survey disseminated to the national associations of Ecommerce Europe around December 2020. Luca Cassetti highlighted that there was a clear improvement in the resiliency of the postal and delivery sector compared to the first lockdown. Overall, postal and parcel delivery services have better adapted to the second lockdown, with consumers experiencing generally smaller delays despite the increased demand around the holidays.
The lesson learnt from the first lockdown is that there has been an exponential growth in distant payment and distant logistics (e.g., contactless click-and-collect, etc.), and that we entered a world with new ways for consumers to shop, pay and get products delivered safely to their home. This is a clear example of how the parcel market is gradually changing, evolving and adapting to the new situation of increased e-commerce activities. Luca Cassetti seized the opportunity to stress that the lines between online and offline commerce are becoming increasingly blurred, as we are moving towards an omnichannel, seamless commerce sector. The COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated the importance of digital and especially the complementarity between physical commerce and e-commerce, a trend that is set to accelerate, according to Ecommerce Europe.
Following the keynote, Mr. Glyn Hughes, Director General of the International Air Cargo Association, Mr. Noor Adan, Coordinator of Supply Chain Management at the UPU, and Mr. Eddy Richauvet, CEO of ShopRunBack, contributed to a panel discussion with their feedback and expertise in the subject. Mr. Hughes provided an overview of the air cargo situation, depicting a scenario of rising volumes of cross-border delivery, flanked by a reduction of capacity of delivery operators, which leads to more permanent solutions for e-commerce and the postal sector from the industry. Mr. Adan outlined the main changes and requirements for the Electronic Advance Data (EAD) regulations, which have given a boost to the digitalisation of the postal sector. The UPU has set up a roadmap and an EAD Steering Committee to develop guiding principles for the EAD requirements and engage with policymakers, stakeholders, industry and regulators to develop a framework for discussing and sharing information. Finally, Mr. Richauvet touched upon the e-commerce traffic volumes that have increased but also highlighted that online retail is still facing many challenges.
The second webinar of the UPU e-commerce trilogy is scheduled for 28 April on “How have e-shopper behaviours changed in the context of COVID-19?”, while the third webinar will be dedicated to “Redefining the universal service obligation (USO) in a changing digital postal environment”. For more information, you can contact us at email@example.com or visit UPU’s social page and website.