The Minister of Economic Affairs is responsible for policy concerning the postal sector and is controlled by parliament. The Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) is the independent supervisor regarding the USO and the postal market as a whole. Additionally, PostNL is subject to European and international regulation, as laid down by, for example, the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and the European Commission.
Regulatory framework and postal market
In July 2017, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs published a report on the future of the Dutch postal market, concluding that maintaining an affordable, accessible and qualitatively good universal service will become challenging due to the ongoing mail volume decline. The report will serve as input for a long term policy analysis of the Dutch postal market.
On the basis of this report and on the request of the State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, Mrs. Oudeman has conducted a dialogue on the postal market. As a result of the outcome of this dialogue on the postal market and several independent reports, the State Secretary sent her conclusions and recommendations vis-à-vis the future of the postal market to parliament on 15 June 2018. These recommendations will be the basis for a policy and legislative agenda that will guarantee affordable postal services in the future.
PostNL and Sandd have announced in February 2019 that they are planning to join forces by combining their postal networks in order to ensure that postal services throughout the Netherlands continue to be reliable, accessible and affordable. After the rejection of the license by ACM the Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy has granted conditional approval. PostNL and Sandd will integrate the two networks into a strong nationwide network.
Significant Market Power
As of 2014, an instrument for significant market power (SMP) is part of the ACM’s regulatory competences. SMP is based on the provisions about access regulation for postal operators to the network of the operator with SMP as laid down in the Postal Act 2009. In July 2017, the ACM published its final market analysis decision, concluding that PostNL is a postal operator with SMP in the 24-hour bulk mail segment. PostNL has filed an appeal against the SMP-decision with the Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb). In its verdict on 3 September 2018, the Court annulled the SMP-decision of ACM. On December 24, ACM has published a new draft SMP-decision.
Recently ACM has advised the deputy Minister of Economic Affairs on access for third parties to the nationwide network given the approval to join the networks of Sandd and PostNL. This advice was adopted by the deputy Minister.
Other regulation and Disputes Committee
PostNL is subject to various laws and regulations, both national and international. In addition to the Postal Act 2009, these are, among others, the Competition law and the Data Protection Law. Furthermore there is an independent Disputes Committee, in line with the EU 2015 Alternative Disputes Resolutions Directive, that handles disputes between PostNL and customers that cannot be resolved by PostNL’s own procedures.
Adjusted on 22 October 2019