EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2976 - January 10, 2013     3 of 3

Help for US Sellers Shipping to Canada Comes from Belgium

By David A. Utter

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Belgium, home of delightful chocolates and Hercule Poirot's glorious (if fictional) moustaches, probably doesn't figure prominently on the minds of North American ecommerce professionals. But one firm that calls that country home just made a quiet but significant splash in the North American ecommerce process.

Post and Parcel said Belgium's bpost, that country's national postal operator, picked up a majority stake in Landmark Global, a firm that helps ecommerce sellers in the U.S. deliver their products to Canadian buyers. Apparently negotiations transpired for the past few months prior to the deal becoming official this week.

Other than the new ownership, little else appears to be slotted for change. Landmark Global's senior management will reportedly remain intact as bpost solidifies its international operations. Bpost already had a hand in North American ecommerce thanks to a 2009 purchase of another firm, MSI Worldwide Mail.

Landmark Global focuses on the logistical side of moving products from place to place, particularly across the border. They tout one strength in being carrier-neutral when developing delivery solutions from ecommerce clients.

Bpost benefits here with one aspect of the Landmark Global business, that being its customs brokerage service. The Ontario-based Landmark Trade Services is key in helping products move from the U.S. to Canadian destinations.

The deal quietly puts bpost in position to perhaps interact more closely with major U.S. ecommerce players. Dealing with such joyless entities like Export Administration Regulations isn't why online sellers got into business. A glance at marketplaces like Etsy shows a network of crafters and artificers, and one could see a potential for such a site having interest in bpost and Landmark Global centralizing the handling of international shipping for its multitude of clients.


About the author:

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. Send your tips to media@davidautter.com and find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.


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