Herna Verhagen, CEO: I am confident that we will continue to find a good balance between adjusting our mail operations in the challenging Dutch postal market and expanding our footprint as an e-commerce solutions provider. So that we will remain valuable for consumers, business customers and other stakeholders.
Investing in parcels and logistics
In 2018, parcel volumes increased by more than 20%. We will keep investing in the technology and infrastructure that is required for servicing the growing e-commerce market, because we expect this growth to continue. In 2018 we opened three new parcel sorting centres in the Netherlands, which is the pace we plan to maintain in 2019. We are very pleased with the development of our parcels business in Belgium, where we plan to further expand our parcel sorting and delivery capabilities
As we transform, we actively seek to develop new growth domains close to our core logistic propositions, which can also serve as a feeder of volumes to our Mail and Parcels networks. We have chosen food and health as specific areas where we can truly add value for customers and where societal trends offer real growth opportunities.
And of course we will continue to invest in activities that make our business more environmentally sustainable, as we believe sustainability is our license to operate. We are working towards the ambitious goals of emission-free delivery in 25 Dutch cities by 2025, and emission-free last-mile delivery across the Benelux by 2030.
Herna Verhagen: Our target of having 50 percent of revenues coming from e-commerce is within reach, ahead of time.
Taking advantage of worldwide e-commerce
Internationally, our focus is on expanding our activities in the e-commerce market which is rapidly growing worldwide. We do this with our cross-border activities by deploying our international sales network and cooperating with international logistics partners.
Mail: becoming a more flexible business
PostNL wants to keep the mail provision throughout the Netherlands reliable and accessible. At the same time, the volumes on the mail market have been decreasing for years, because people send ever less mail due to the rise of email and social media. This makes it necessary for PostNL to keep an eye out for the costs and operate as efficiently as possible.
This is why we keep innovating and have automated our sorting process even further, thus reducing the costs. We are also adjusting the network of letter boxes to the decreasing volumes, looking for the optimum locations of letter boxes in joint consultation with local communities and stakeholders.
The volume decline underpins the urgent need to consolidate the mail networks in the Netherlands, to change regulation and to transform our mail activities towards a more flexible model for mail collection, sorting and delivery. With this model, we create synergies and cut costs in parallel with the volume decline.
On February 25th 2019, we have made a joint announcement with Sandd regarding our intention to create one strong national postal network in the Netherlands. PostNL and Sandd have filed a request for approval with the regulator, which is the formal start of this process. Combining the two postal networks of PostNL and Sandd is essential, in order to ensure that the postal market remains reliable, accessible and affordable for everyone.
Herna Verhagen: Our ambition is to be the favourite deliverer. We deliver parcels every day and mail five days a week. On a weekday, we deliver on average 800,000 parcels and 7 million letters throughout the Benelux. This allows us to realise our strategy and ambitions, enabling us to safeguard a healthy and sustainable future for PostNL.