The winners of the 2015 Postal Technology International Awards have been announced, in a ceremony at POST-EXPO in Paris.

Winners were chosen across seven categories including, parcel handling, digital, environmental delivery, last mile delivery, business development innovations and supplier and service suppliers, with each award designed to recognise and reward the hard work currently taking place in the postal industry.

The judging panel, made up of major decision makers within the world's posts included DHL, La Poste France, Austrian Post, SingPost, Asendia, Canada Post, An Post, Swiss Post and Australia Post, among others.

This year a major focus was parcel handling automation, with Posts facing a number of new challenges associated with the sorting of the increasing number of parcels passing through the sorting centre, including various address label types and positions, sizes and shapes of parcels, and different types of packaging.

Another popular area for development in 2015 was last-mile delivery. Posts and their suppliers have been developing solutions that give the end consumer convenience and flexibility, while providing increased transparency in their mail delivery. Developments in this category included apps that feedback important information from mailmen, such as a misrouted mail item or a road accident, more flexible parcel locker solutions, and customer information applications.

Transformation was also a key word in this year's awards, especially in the Service Provider of the Year category. Posts around the world are reinventing their business to meet the needs of the growing e-commerce sector. Developments such as e-fulfilment platforms for SMEs, investments into strengthening parcel drop-off and pick-up networks, and new state-of-the-art parcel sorting centres, are just some of the highlights featured in this year's shortlist.

DPDgroup won Service Provider of the Year category, in a shortlist featuring Posten Norge (Norway Post), India Post, and Canada Post.  The company now has 20,000 DPDgroup Pickup locations available in 10 countries across Europe, with its Predict one-hour delivery window service extended to 22 European countries in 2015.

Judges recognised DPDgroup's 21% increase in its B2C volumes during 2014, and its Hinckley hub increasing DPD's UK parcel capacity from 800,000 parcels a day to 1.4 million. 

Vanderlande Industries picked up the Supplier of the Year Award, beating fellow nominees

Fives Intralogistics, Italy, and Metapack UK, and was recognised for its continued growth, with a record turnover of ¬988m (US$1bn) for the 2014/15 financial year. The company's rate of growth is projected to continue by an average of 10-15% per annum in the years to come, with Vanderlande hiring 800 new employees worldwide in 2014, bringing the total to 3,500.

The Business Development Innovation of the Year category went to Edfa3ly from a shortlist of wnDirect, Integrated Service Points by Slovenská Pošta and Royal Mail returns portal. 

Edfa3ly (which is Arabic for pay for me') was launched in October 2010 with the aim of making cross-border shopping and payments more convenient and secure for people in Africa and the Middle East. 

Founder Mohamed Attya, says 96% of Africans do not have access to a credit card, so the company has launched, an e-commerce website where the products are supplied from companies outside Egypt. Edfa3ly has plans to expand to East Africa, North Africa and Gulf countries.

Digital Mail Man by Prime Competence won the Last-mile Delivery Innovation of the Year. Digital Mail Man was launched in October 2014 after two years of testing with PostNL. Other companies shortlisted include Doddle UK, InPost's Mobile Parcel Lockers, RAY by Welltec, Digital Mail Man by Prime Competence, MyParcelApp by T-Systems, and CleverBox 2 by Cleveron.

The Digital Mail Man system enables postal carriers to monitor their pay, working hours and holiday entitlements and transparently monitor all mail deliveries. Pilot programs are currently testing new features such as GPS, image capture and other revenue-generating applications.

The Environmental Achievement of the Year was won by Posten Norge (Norway Post) from a field of nominees including United Parcel Service, Swiss Post and USPS.

In 2014 Posten Norge reduced its CO2 emissions by 30% compared with 2008 levels, and now the post has set a new target to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2020. Posten Norge has the largest electric fleet in Norway, with more than 1,100 zero emissions vehicles. Eco-driving training has helped reduce fuel consumption by between 5% and 15%, with the post's environmental fund helping to achieve CO2 savings of around 6,000 tonnes.

ezycommerce By Singpost picked up the The Digital Innovation of the Year award with

Comandia by Correos Spain, Panorama by USPS, and Asendia's cross-border e-commerce microsite all shortlisted. ezyCommerce is a cloud-based, easy-to-use, fully integrated, multichannel fulfilment platform for SMEs, designed to take care of everything from order to last-mile delivery and returns.  SingPost plans to white label ezyCommerce to make it available to other postal operators around the world.

Finally, the Parcel Handling Innovation of the Year award went to Label Learning Software from Siemens Postal, Parcel & Airport Logistics (Sppal).

Also shortlisted were Neopost's CVP-500, Parcel Picker by the Beumer Group, Parcel Manager from Bell and Howell and OneSort by Pitney Bowes.

Label Learning software enables posts to increase automation and achieve higher address recognition performance, with its software using images of unknown parcel labels to create new label types for automated recognition and is designed to distinguish up to 1,000 different labels.

Nominations for this year's awards opened in Postal Technology International magazine May, when readers were asked to propose the most notable achievements of the past year. A shortlist was then drawn up and sent to the judging panel.

Winners were presented with their awards at the annual POST-EXPO event, at Porte de Versaille, Paris on Tuesday 29th September.

For more information about the 2015 Postal Technology International Awards, click here