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
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 2017, we opened the 19th parcel sorting centre in Nieuwegein, our largest and most sustainable in the Netherlands. We also invested in sorting centres in Belgium, so that we can also offer more services and operate more efficiently there. We are improving our parcel network and accessibility in Belgium, in order to provide the same quality throughout the Benelux. When expanding and renewing our network, we aim at reducing our environmental footprint. We invest in cleaner vehicles and more efficient routes. We try to generate 40 percent of our energy consumption by solar panels in our sustainable parcel sorting centres.
Herna Verhagen: We are making good progress towards achieving our goal: we expect that at least 50% of our revenue will be related to e-commerce by 2020.
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. We are also enhancing the parcel network in Italy and the postal networks in Italy and Germany.
Cost savings and efficiency
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. As a result, we manage to limit the necessary price increase of stamps. In this way, we ensure that the mail service in the Netherlands remains accessible and affordable for everyone, while retaining the desired quality and service.
At the same time, competition in this significantly declining market is artificially stimulated by means of regulations. This will finally result in more and more different mail carriers walking the streets, with less and less mail to deliver. This is bound to hurt somewhere, and, in the end, nobody will benefit from this: not the mail deliverers, nor the Dutch people, nor the postal operators.
Herna Verhagen: Because of the fundamental changes in the Dutch postal market and the expected further decline of addressed mail volumes , we believe regulation must be amended as soon as possible to guarantee a sustainable postal market. To safeguard the reliability and accessibility of the postal network and to preserve decent labour conditions in this shrinking market, we believe that, in the long run, the consolidation of postal market players in the Netherlands is inevitable.
Growing in three domains
The huge growth of e-commerce, social changes such as the ageing population and individualisation, and the rise of new technologies offer us opportunities to keep growing. We see opportunities to grow in three developments in society: in the growth of e-commerce, in the linking and development of our worldwide logistics networks, and in an interconnected society. We are looking at opportunities that are closely in line with our existing activities, but we are also looking further ahead, to activities that are further removed from our current mail and logistics solutions.
Herna Verhagen: Every day, I see examples of the effort our people put in, and the ideas and solutions they come up with to make this great company more successful. This allows us to realise our strategy and ambitions, enabling us to safeguard a healthy and sustainable future for PostNL.