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Better late than never


Publication number: 2012-49
Author: B. Baarsma
Commissioned by: Sandd
Publisher: SEO Economic Research
ISBN: 978-90-6733-655-0

There are some structural competition problems addressed in the Dutch postal market, that can only be tackled with ex ante control. A government that fails to regulate the supervision of postal companies can not require them to have at least 80 percent employment contracts. The requirement to move to better, but more expensive labour contracts, obliges the government to arrange ex ante competition supervision.

Despite the current duopoly in the postal market, that arose after the take-over of Selektmail by Sandd and after PostNL stopped with the activities of Netwerk VSP Addressed, the market is not less dynamic. The postal market is shrinking also sharply, by 20 percent in the past 11 years. That makes competition for bigger customers with post with a low time sensitivity fierce. The monopoly position of PostNL in the segment of high time sensitivity post (post with a transit time of less than or equal to 24 hours) is unaffected. The PostNL monopoly in the 48-hours segment and the unsorted bulk mail is under pressure because of the (potential) accession of Sandd, but the PostNL market share in these segments remains nearly 100 percent. 

With this dominant position there is a risk that the PostNL uses the market power on the part of the postal market with practically no competition to distort or restrict competition in the competitive part of the market (the post with a lower time sensitivity). This is done through cross-subsidies between the two segments and also between larger customers in those segments. These cross-subsidies are a key competition issue in the current Dutch postal market. For an effective functioning of the market it is of paramount importance to prevent anti-competitive cross-subsidies. In the current situation there is a lack of monitoring instruments designed to interfere when there is impending competition-distorting behaviour from the side of the dominant supplier. 

What is - given the discribed market situation - the economic assessment of the ex ante monitoring measures of the postal market proposed by State Secretary Bleker in his letter of 21 February? Are these measures adequate for an effective operation of the postal market? These questions are addressed in the report that you can download on this page.

This report is written in Dutch. 


Category: 2012