​The future of cross border parcel labels: generic labels for the EU

Generic labels for the EU

By: Sarah Pilasky - Tuesday July 4th 2017

Cross border shipments are becoming increasingly common, but are not yet that easy to process for many organizations. Several carriers are involved in the process from collection until delivery. And because they all use different labels, it is difficult to keep an overview of what the current status of the shipment is. Once all parties involved start to use the same standard this will be a thing of the past.


‘Harmonized label for parcels’

Ecommerce Europe is closely involved in the plans to develop generic labels for the entire EU: the same labels and documentation for each country and carrier within the European Union.

After the technical specifications of these plans were approved earlier this year, we can now inform you on a new development: since June 21st this year, the so called ‘harmonized label for parcels’ is ready for publication.

In April of this year, an agreement was reached by the wider postal stakeholders, including courier-, express- and parcel delivery operators that work cross-border. Now, the latest publication of the CEN (European Committee for Standardization) is the final step towards a generic parcel label for the EU.

The advantages

With this generic label, the different dimensions, barcodes, re-labeling procedures and missing traceability will be a thing of the past. Furthermore, it will be easier to switch between carriers.

Next to this, the generic label offers even more benefits: it provides a multi-carrier and multi-channel environment where all organizations can work closely together to provide the most cost-effective, but most environmentally-friendly services in the future. For example, right now when you ship a parcel form the Netherlands to the heart of Paris, it will probably be shipped by one carrier in a truck and/or van. The future will be different: in a suburb of Paris or in Paris itself, the parcel can easily be transferred to a local carrier with electric cars or even to a carrier that delivers by bike.

Further developments

This summer, Ecommerce Europe will address the following challenges concerning the ‘harmonized parcel label’: how to standardize all data in compliance with the safety and customs regulations.

We will continue to monitor these great developments and keep you informed, as these developments will affect us all.

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