Global E-commerce Summit Policy Arena: Ecommerce Europe panel discusses the state of play of parcel delivery in EU


Ecommerce Europe, host of this year’s Global E-commerce Summit, organized a session which touched upon the postal and parcel markets in a framework of a fast-evolving e-commerce and with an increasingly high demand coming from consumers on hassle-free and affordable delivery. The industry has to mobilize and work towards innovation and improvement of the European parcel delivery market and that is exactly the strategy adopted by Ecommerce Europe. On 14 June, expert policymakers and industry stakeholders participated in a panel discussion moderated by Ecommerce Europe’s Secretary General Marlene ten Ham, focusing on how to revolutionize the logistics market, to make it fit to the future of retail.

“We are harmonizing the closed environments of parcel delivery, which is a major achievement”

In his opening statement, Walter Trezek, Co-Chair of the e-Logistics Working Group of Ecommerce Europe, explained the work done by the European association in creating the necessary standards for a modern parcel delivery market, thanks to the harmonized parcel label developed withtin the European Standardization Committee (CEN). Ecommerce Europe has been in the driving seat of the development of this parcel label, which will transform the old analog parcel into a digital and interconnected one, in a standardized way. Walter Trezek mentioned that it is a duty of the industry to keep the harmonized parcel label on track.

Overall, the other panelists, namely Luke Lloyd from International Post Corporation, Frits van den Bos from GS1 Netherlands, Gunnar Adelberth from UPS Sweden and Oula Järvinen from agreed on the fact that it is fundamental to build partnerships and to increase visibility towards customers on the harmonized label, as there are still quite some challenges to face in particular with regard to the growth of e-commerce in emerging markets.

An important message that was highlighted by Oula Järvinen is that, from the online merchant’s perspective, there is a need for a digital label, because consumers need a way to send a parcel back in an easy way, if they need to.

 “We need to actively shape the market”

Jasmin Battista, Head of E-commerce in DG Connect, gave some insights from the perspective of the European Commission. In particular, she highlighted the state of play of the draft Regulation on parcel delivery, which has now found a general agreement in the Council of the European Union and will be likely concluded under the Estonian Presidency towards the end of this year. She also underlined how having a harmonized label is a valuable tool to address challenges in parcel delivery and stressed the need to adapt the digital technology for profitability.

In Ecommerce Europe’s opinion, the original proposal of the European Commission had the potential to help create a level playing field for competing parcel delivery operators and thereby – ultimately – for online merchants throughout Europe. Nevertheless, given the more recent legislative developments, Ecommerce Europe has specific concerns regarding the draft Regulation, which will result in a additional administrative burden for online merchants (see here for more information).

In their concluding remarks, the panelists emphasized the importance of following consumers’ need as a “driver of change” in the parcel delivery world and called on being proactive in actively shaping the parcel delivery market, to the benefit of all parties involved.