EU approves new rules for cross-border parcel delivery costs to boost sales

On 13 March, the European parliament approved new rules to provide clearer price information for parcel delivery. This move emerges from the Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy.

Operators will be obliged to provide prices for their services and these will be published by the Commission on a dedicated website.

Clearer information on the prices of parcel delivery services should help to increase consumer confidence in cross-border shopping and shipping. According to a study conducted by the EU Commission in 2015, over two thirds of consumers are resistant to making online purchases, due to cross-border delivery costs. The cross-border parcel prices are on average 3 to 5 times higher than their domestic equivalents for all products.  Clearly, no pan-European online market can exist without a functioning delivery system covering the entirety of the Union.

The proposal has been debated both on a national as well as a European level and an agreement has been reached on an amended text of the regulation.  The new rules are approved by the European Parliament with 604 in favour, 80 against, and 12 abstentions.

The regulation features a series of mandatory information that every parcel delivery service provider will have to submit to its national regulatory authority, so in the case of Malta, to the Malta Communications Authority (MCA). The regulation also establishes a mechanism by which the national regulatory authority will be able to assess the affordability of cross-border tariffs yearly. Moreover, the law includes measures to ensure a transparent and non-discriminatory cross-border access to such services.

Following the coming into effect of the Regulation, the Commission must adopt an implementing act to establish a form for gathering the information required to be provided under the Regulation, and must publish guidance for the assessment of cross-border tariffs by the regulatory authorities.  

The MCA is working with other European regulatory authorities, within the European Regulators Group for Postal Services to facilitate the smooth implementation of the new rules for the benefit of consumers.