Royal Mail made £1 billion loss after painful strikes: ‘We failed...and we

International Distributions Services, parent company of privatised postal service Royal Mail (UK), ParcelForce, GLS (who operate a number of regional Tier 2 services for B2B and B2C) makes a thumping loss. £200m attributed to on long-running UK postal worker dispute (succession of 1-2 days strikes in the last year), with additional losses due to UK government refusal to allow the “universal service obligation” (delivery to every UK address) to be cut back from 6 days a week to 5 or less. (Due to labour shortages, in some areas Royal Mail struggles to deliver a USO at any rate higher than 1-2 days per week).

Royal Mail is a major deliverer of B2C ecommerce parcels in the UK (up to a certain size/weigh point). ParcelForce less so, with GLS operations such as Golden State offering B2C parcel services elsewhere.

Is it not interesting that in two of the most developed e-commerce markets (US and UK) - the postal service plays a huge role in B2C e-commerce.

1 Like

Yes, although USPS (in public-governmental ownership) really only operates within the United States, but the owner of the privatised Royal Mail operates in parts of the US, parts of Canada, parts of Europe as well, under the GLS brand (having acquired various existing local Tier 2/Tier 3 operations since 1999)

And, although people in the UK moan about the postal services, I get the impression that Royal Mail does offer a better service than USPS (even with industrial disputes), from what I see on the internet, and certainly better that the cheap Tier 2’s that lots of ecommerce sites in the UK use (Hermes, Yodel, DX/UK Mail) with DHL Ground, Amazon as good or better than Royal Mail/ParcelForce.

International parcel brokering services will hand off based on cost/reliability, have seen Hermes in the past but usually Royal Mail (tracked) these days.
During the pandemic, I have one trackable parcel from China (eBay purchase) that I could track on the overland train from China through Russia into Poland and then Belgium and finally Hermes to my door.

International Distributions Services–not a typo–owns Royal Mail including the ParcelForce brand, and has a monopoly of certain kinds of mail in the UK etc. in return for accepting the Universal Service Obligation; IDS owns GLS as a subdivision separate from RM. RM/PF doesn’t seem to broker to GLS for international shipments, which tend to follow the “default” lanes set by Universal Postal Union, so RM/PF usually hands to USPS/Canada post etc. and vice versa, but I suspect GLS does broker to RM/PF inbound to the UK

1 Like