At the end of May 2016, the EU Commission announced plans to introduce new legislation that will make it easier to send goods across EU borders.
Currently, delivery prices vary greatly and it can be incredibly expensive to send packages across EU state borders. Such inflated prices can be cost-prohibitive to businesses and consumers wishing to move commodities in this way.
The new regulation is not designed to fix prices or control exactly what individual companies charge for cross-country deliveries, but rather to offer total transparency on what individual businesses are charging to keep prices regulated.
This should help make trade for smaller businesses and individual consumers much easier because they will not be put off by what can be extortionate prices for a single or smaller delivery.
Out of proportion prices
Outlining the reasons for making this change, Elzbieta Bienkowska, Commissioner for Internal market, Industry and Entrepreneurship at the the EU, commented that "with clearer rules, better enforcement and more affordable cross-border parcel delivery, it will be easier for consumers and companies, especially SMEs, to make the most of the EU single market and cross-border e-commerce”.
At the moment, the issue with delivery costs when sending items across EU member states’ borders are that the prices are not relative to the distance or weight of the package. In that respect sending the same item from Spain to Italy could cost three times more than sending it the other way, from Italy to Spain.
As such, it seems that currently the delivery costs a courier company has to pay has no bearing on the price they charge and the additional profit that delivery companies are seeking to make reduces the volume of online sales across EU borders from businesses and consumers. Cross border deliveries can cost several times more than within domestic borders, even though the distance traveled by a consignment may be less.
The regulation isn’t designed to create a fixed price for delivery, but rather to ensure that consumers can see how much every company charges and whether this is relative to the fundamental cost of the delivery.
By having such a transparent system, costs should be able to be maintained at a much more manageable level to keep trade between member states open and free.
The introduction of this regulation comes at a time when the EU are focusing on making Europe a Single Digital Market, which is the idea that anyone in the EU zone should be able to make a purchase online and have it delivered with no obstacles or extortionate costs.
The change is designed to help all businesses, particularly smaller and medium sized enterprises, with how easily they can conduct their business across the borders of the whole EU.