Thursday December 09, 2021

COVID-19: main lessons learned and opportunities ahead for the postal sector

by Holger Winklbauer, CEO of IPC

Holger Winklbauer
Holger Winklbauer

As the summer break is drawing to a close, I would like to share some thoughts about the main developments of the year so far, as well as the future perspectives for the postal sector and IPC.

First of all, I would like to say that the biggest success for our member posts and the postal sector as a whole over the past 18 months has been their resilience. Posts across the world have adapted to the situation and played an essential role for society: when countries around the world were in lockdown, posts were still bringing essential mail and goods to every household. As a result, the perception of the posts’ critical role has improved. As far as IPC is concerned, even though the COVID-19 crisis is taking longer than expected, we have continued to provide our services despite the challenges in order to support the posts in these difficult times.

Secondly, the current context is a business challenge for the postal sector, as mail volumes are decreasing and e-commerce is booming. Posts have proactively responded to the rapidly increasing e-commerce volumes. Nevertheless, the market is more and more attractive for other players too. The competition is making strong headway in the e-commerce delivery market. Posts need to make sure they respond to the demands of e-retailers and consumers. 

What does that mean concretely? The e-commerce market will continue to grow and the growth rate is expected to be significant. This growth will bring plenty of business opportunities for the posts and at the same time also to other delivery companies, but also for IPC as the partner of the postal sector. Focus should be put on both increasing capacity and developing features to address new consumer demands. IPC is supporting posts by monitoring and analysing the market needs and by developing the business offerings that will help the posts responding to those needs. IPC also supports posts in improving efficiencies, all this predominantly in the cross-border area. All we need is to stay on our toes, see the opportunities and make it happen in close cooperation with our members.

For IPC, key priorities in the second half of this year will include the further increase of volumes going through INTERCONNECT as the set of standards for cross-border e-commerce delivery. The other key priority will be the further roll-out of the Postal Delivery Duties Paid (PDDP) service. This is the key instrument which will allow posts to play an important role in cross-border e-commerce delivery. The PDDP solution is also instrumental for posts to deal with the new customs requirements (removal of VAT de Minimis, EU ICS2, US Stop Act, etc).

In conclusion, I strongly believe that posts can have a strong position on delivery markets in a post-COVID world. Posts showed a strong capacity of adaptation during the crisis. Posts should be well prepared to adapt to rapidly changing realities to increase their position as key leaders in e-commerce delivery.  


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