Royal Mail Will Deliver for Rival

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Royal Mail will begin delivering business mail from one of its competitors in the spring, Royal Mail said yesterday.

Business Post Group said its UK Mail subsidiary has signed an agreement with Royal Mail for access to the state-owned postal operator's local sorting and final delivery network. UK Mail provides business mail services across the United Kingdom.

Postcomm said it would postpone the publication of its proposals on the price Royal Mail should charge for access until January to allow the two firms to finalize the deal.

The deal marks a milestone in the development of competition in the UK letter market. It may be followed by other agreements with other companies seeking similar access to Royal Mail's delivery network.

"Royal Mail is very pleased at this agreement," said Adam Crozier, Royal Mail's chief executive. "Access arrangements are new territory for Royal Mail. But I am confident we have the basis to proceed to an agreement that will work for Royal Mail and our postmen and women as well as for UK Mail and business customers who will benefit from enhanced choice."

Postcomm chairman Graham Corbett welcomed the deal.

"This is excellent news that should benefit both businesses and consumers," he said in a statement. "I expect competition in postal services to begin to gather pace now that Royal Mail recognizes the commercial advantages of agreeing to access prices with operators for its final-mile delivery."

UK Mail will use Royal Mail for services including Business Class, in which mail is delivered on the morning of the second business day after collection, and Day Definite, where mail is delivered on the day specified by the sender.


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