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TRANSPORTCEO - 19/02/2018
The horror of cross-border parcel delivery in Europe.

One kilogram to Berlin costs 10 cents and the user is charged 100 times more.

Abusive surcharges.

A tourist commissioner and an ineffective European Commission are mocking the fundamental problem of e-commerce in Europe.

The Commissioner for the single market, Andrus Ansip, who dedicates himself to tourism, preferably in Africa, and seems to have taken pleasure in it, is wholly ineffective. He is responsible for sending out messages every now and then, as if he is going to do a great deal of force to solve a problem that even the hundreds of European Commission officials have discovered to be important and that is how expensive it is to send parcels across Europe. They have even invented a term, how expensive cross-border parcel services are.

As the Commission says, this is a major impediment to an e-commerce and non-e-commerce market through the 400 million europeans who are counterparts to the 400 million or so americans. But they're ahead of us and so are the Chinese.

Here, in Europe, the intelligent gentlemen of the Commission, have allowed the concentration of parcel companies in three large groups, on the one hand the Post Offices where only German, French and, to a lesser extent, English mail have a cross-border offer, but that is expensive. The second group of companies are the American integrators, UPS, FedEx, formerly we had TNT but they let fall in the hands of Fedex. These integrators make the multinationals align themselves in price with the Mails by making transport and cross-border parcel delivery basically expensive.

The third group are independent companies but having to fight with the mailers and integrators can't do much.

The result is that, in relative terms, cross-border parcel services are now more expensive than a decade ago.

This is a disgrace because Europe has a better network of motorways and highways than the United States and very cheap road transport. Carriers are paid little and users are charged heavily.

Land transport between Madrid and Berlin is less than 10 euro cents per kilogram, The same form Italy to Berlin or Rumania. However, this price is multiplied by one hundred when the oligopoly companies take action.

20.000 kilos to Berlin cost 2.000 euros, and the user is charged 100 times more.

We are not talking about express parcels by plane, but about the express parcel delivery service between the periphery and Berlin, for example, which has a transit time of three to four days, counting that the trucks arrive there in 36 hours. 

This dysfunction and great difference in price and margins between bringing 20 tons for 2,000 euros to Berlin from the periphery and the astronomical cost if which you want to send a dozen kilos.


But what's more, the abuse means that integrators and also couriers such as DHL, with a strong air presence, have become accustomed to imposing on the bill concepts brought in from aviation or maritime transport, such as fuel oil surcharges, as if someone paying 20 euros to bring 1 kilogram to Berlin were not paying for the fuel of the truck and vans. But of course, if you add 4 or 5% more after all kinds of surcharges like not forming full pallets or by uploading the packages to their destination, the bill can double.


Sending packages from any point in peripheral Europe is a pain and when there are surcharges for fuel, which is a joke applied to trucks as if they do not consume diesel or were solar, there are surcharges as ridiculous as that the companies of the third group, the largest and the industrial ones, try to apply surcharges for uploading the merchandise to the offices of the recipient because according to them, the rate is to be delivered to the dock and that once the budgets have been approved and the freight paid, it is a nigthmare dor ecommerce companies. Parcel companies apply extra surcharges tha are in the fine print in contracts that are abusive.

Europe is way behind in intra european ecommerce, only Amazon dominates becaue it has its on road transport system for Europe.


These surcharges can double the price of the shipment and are imposed the hard way. They make shipping, for medium-sized e-commerce and physical commerce companies impossible, if you don't have a large volume, in Europe is ridiculous, with prices almost similar to what it costs to ship the same kilos by air to New York.

This is the problem that the very clever Commissioner Ansip, "the tourist Ansip", and the hundreds of European Union officials, who, quite rightly, the British do not want to pay any more and that is why they are leaving, have been discovering for 36 months. Industrialists have known it for years.

And after of all this evidence, Commissioner Ansip comes up with a whole lot of nonsense to solve the problem, such as forcing the publication of tariffs, nonsense and nonsense that can only occur to a minister' of this European Union that has no master.

But this only happens, let us remember, because Europe has allowed an oligopoly to exist and where there is an oligopoly these mushroom-like behaviours are born.




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