Svensk postmarknad 2022 - PTS-ER-2022-16


The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) is responsible for the monitoring, analysis and reporting on the development of the postal market. The issue of sustainability and sustainable supply has become an increasingly important issue. Through the Global Goals of the 2030 Agenda, it is clear that working towards a more sustainable society concerns everyone who affects the development of the postal market in different ways. This involves creating environmentally sustainable supply chains, but also making postal services socially sustainable and responsive to the needs of users, regardless of their ability or where they live in the country. At the same time, these aspects must be weighed against the cost of providing postal services to ensure that they are economically sustainable over time. A government-appointed inquiry into the financing of the universal postal service is currently underway and should be completed by the end of January 2023. The digitalisation of society has led to major changes in users' communication habits. In 2021, about 1.5 billion letter items were sent within Sweden, of which about 1.4 billion were traditional letters and about 73 million were parcel letters (letters intended for the shipment of goods). Compared to 2020, the total letter market has decreased by 5.4% in terms of volumes, and increased by 1.1% in terms of turnover. The overall figures hide the fact that while traditional letters have decreased both in terms of volumes (-7%) and in terms of turnover (-9%), parcel letters have increased both in terms of volumes (+45%) and turnover (+74%).

Demand for environmental sustainability from users is driving innovation in the market. In this year's report, PTS has highlighted some examples of ongoing initiatives to make deliveries more environmentally friendly, such as: more environmentally-friendly transport, more sustainable packaging with less air and filler, coordination of transport flows, recycling initiatives, information to consumers to increase demand for sustainable delivery choices, work towards a more sustainable working environment in the e-commerce sector, and more operators offering delivery to parcel lockers as an alternative to home delivery and delivery to agents.

Sustainability issues have also received increased attention in PTS's work, both internationally and nationally, in recent years. For example, since the beginning of 2022, the European Regulators Group for Post (ERGP) has a dedicated ERGP Sustainability Work Group, in which PTS participates, which discusses how member countries can create more sustainable postal services. In addition, the Authority works both through regulation and promotion (analysis, dissemination of information and collaboration) to create the conditions for socially, environmentally and economically sustainable postal services.

PTS plans to update the regulation of delivery within the framework of the universal postal service in 2023. An important prerequisite for this is to ensure that postal services continue to be socially sustainable, even for the most vulnerable user groups in society. For example, users who already have a long distance to their postal facility should not have to travel further, and elderly and disabled people should continue to have their mail delivered to their homes.

Another input has been that the regulatory framework should, as far as possible, create conditions for postal services that both meet users' needs and are environmentally sustainable in the long term. As recipients want more large consignments delivered close to home, this places greater demands on society to find safe delivery locations that do not involve traffic inside residential areas and on pedestrian streets. With more deliveries from more operators, there is also a need for coordination of transport to reduce the impact of emissions while enabling increased service in sparsely populated parts of the country.

Changes in postal delivery are a continuous process and are necessary to adapt the service to the changing needs of society. PTS's intention with the updated regulatory framework is to clarify for interested parties how the change process should be carried out and in which situations the universal postal service provider is not obliged to deliver postal items according to the postal regulatory framework. The aim is to create greater regulatory predictability, leading to greater certainty in the event of changes in delivery.

In 2021 and 2022, PTS has continued to monitor Postnord's implementation of the operator's new production model, which involves the delivery of certain postal services every other day. The implementation seems to have worked well as the Authority has received relatively few complaints regarding problems encountered by users due to the change in the frequency of distribution. This picture is also confirmed by the results of a recent survey of the population's use of postal services commissioned by the Authority, which showed that 92% of respondents need postal delivery up to three days a week.3 However, PTS supervision shows that the margins in Postnord's production process are decreasing, which means that the operator has less time to overcome problems that may arise in the delivery process. In 2022, PTS will continue to monitor the impact of the model on Postnord's measurements of delivery times.