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Storage and mailing of CTA (co-)publications

Questions concerning Annex 2: Instructions to tenderers for a Service Contract: “Storage and mailing of CTA (co-)publications" - June 2016 - June 2020

May 5, 2016

Question 1

For answering the instructions for tenderers mentioned in 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 you have maximized the number of pages. Is this with a cover page included or excluded?

Answer: The cover page is excluded.

Question 2

Are we free in choosing font type and size?

Answer: Yes, provided that we can read the document.

Question 3

For international mail we make use of other national postal agencies and for international transport we make use of subcontractors. This is very common in international transport. We cannot however say upfront with which subcontractors we will cooperate. Our company only works with duly registered subcontractors. How can we meet the requirement asked in A.2.?

Answer: Subcontractors are eligible if they are registered in an ACP State, an EU Member State, an official EU candidate country, a member State of the European Economic Area or if they are an international organisation. Names of potential subcontractors have to be provided. CTA may accept or reject subcontractors depending on their eligibility.

Question 4

Subcontractors: do you consider transport or air freights companies or even postal operators as subcontractors or do you consider that we can subcontract part of our activity (not the fulfillment which is the core topic of the tender but the transport for example)?

Answer: Transport, airfreight companies and postal operators are subcontractors.

Questions concerning Annex 3: Terms of reference

Question 5

General : We have not found any chapter on the way that data are exchanged between CTA and the tenderer.

  • Do we need to envisage an exchange in EDI / Punch out?
  • Does CTA process data manually on the tenderer's interface?
  • The data format is not known in case of data transmission and return.

Answer: The selected tenderer will have a partial access to our system through Internet. Every day they will receive a maximum of three batches (one batch for the orders from subscribers, one batch for the subscribers' orders to be sent by registered mail, one batch for the events and/or book donations).

The batch will be made of four files:

  • 1 PDF file (packing_list) containing the packing lists;
  • 1 PDF file (order_form) containing the new order forms to be added to the delivery;
  • 1 Excel file (shipment_items) containing the shipment number, the reference numbers of the publications to be sent, the titles of the publications to be sent, the number of publications to be sent;
  • 1 Excel file (shipments) containing the relevant information on subscribers and the weight of the order

(see attached files)

Question 6

Page 1 : Management of credit points

How is the information on the credit points allocation managed and/or transmitted to the tenderer's interface?

Answer: The credit points are automatically managed by CTA's system. The service provider will not have to manage them. The credit points are automatically transferred to the tenderer's interface.

Question 7

Page 2 : Volume

Could you indicate to us what the 293,000 copies mean in terms of pallets or square meters?

Answer: We have 88 pallets space. Please kindly note that pallets' space is based UK standard dimensions (120 x 100 cm).

The volume for the pick and pack area is currently 450 m3 (15 m long x 10 m deep x 3 m high).

Question 8

Page 3: Bulk mailings

You mention 8000 copies sent in bulk mailings. Do you have an average number of copies and the number of recipients by mailing?

Answer: In general we have 1 to 5 copies per recipient. The number of recipients per title is between 50 to 250.

Question 9

Page 3: Collections

Could you give us an idea of the average volumes to be collected from the publisher?

Answer: On average it is a pallet weighing between 100 and 300 kg.

Question 10

Page 4 : Inventories

We regularly carry out inventories during the year. Should the end-of-year inventory automatically be planned or should it be on request?

Answer: The end-of-year inventory is mandatory.

Question 11

Page 5: Out-of-stock titles

What are out-of-stock titles?

Answer: CTA decides to put a title 'out of stock' if it is exhausted and will not be re-ordered, if is obsolete (in general more than 10 years) or if is it replaced by another version.

Question 12

Per publication / titles, could you please give us the following information?

Number of copies

Answer: See attached file (160427_Stock publications with weight) for the stock on 27 April 2016.

Service level (transit times needed for the delivery for each country)

Answer: For the publications and promotional material sent by courier for events or book donations, the delivery time should be a maximum of one week (not taking into account the delays at the customs). Publications sent to subscribers and bulk mailings have to be sent by post (registered mail only for Benin, Cameroon and Zambia – See also Question 30).

Weight of the different publications

Answer: See attached file (160427_Stock publications with weight)

Format of the different publications

Answer: We do not have an Excel file with the dimensions of each publication. Typical dimensions are: 15 x 21 cm; 21 x 28 cm. However, the dimensions are very variable.

Split of volumes/country

Answer: See our file 10427_Orders 2015_Sorted by countries (it includes the orders/publications sent to subscribers, for events, book donations and mailings).

The frequency of dispatches

Answer: 7,000 orders are sent a year. This represents +/- 28 dispatches a day.

Mailing on demand: could you provide us with statistics of the past (what was the number of mailings sent in the past?)

Answer: In 2015, 150 individual mail orders representing a total of 7,600 kg were sent by courier or airfreight. (see our table in Annex 3_Terms of reference). Those figures have been relatively stable for the last four years.

What kind of paper do you need for the cover letter (gsm for the paper? Printing 1/0? 1/1? 4/0? 4/4?)

Answer: The same weight and same quality as our letterhead paper (that you received with the tender documents).

Do you have examples of titles/publications to provide us?

Answer: We will not send samples of our titles to the tenderers. However you can find the technical specifications of our publications on our website CTA Publishing ( and in the Excel file 160427_Stock publications with weight.

Question 13

How do we need to package them? How many versions for each publication? Do we need to polywrap? Do we need to envelop?

Answer: The packaging material should be strong enough for mailings/shipments to final recipients in ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries. The number of copies of a same title is different from one order to another (in general 1 or 2). For events/book donations the packaging material consists of carton boxes. For subscribers it consists of thick envelopes or small carton boxes. Polywrap, plastic foils and other transparent material have to be avoided.

Question 14

Packaging material: do you provide it? Should we provide it? For the polywrap, what is the thickness of the polywrap? What is the quality of the paper for the envelop in gsm?

Answer: The packaging material is not provided by CTA: it has to be provided by the service provider. The envelope should be strong enough for mailings/shipments to final recipients in ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific) countries.

See also question 13

Question 15

How does the data files for each country look like?

Answer: See questions 5 and 12.

Question 16

In case of undeliverables, where do you want the items to be returned?

Answer: The items have to be returned to the service provider. A return address should be indicated on the boxes/envelopes.

Question 17

Flows of information: do we have an IT access to your plaform? What kind of system is it? Example of outputs? When do we need to prepare the orders? (could you provide us with statistics, a planning of all the events with addresses where the items shall be delivered? )

Answer: See also questions 5 and 22. The orders should be processed on a daily basis.

Question 18

How many pallets does it represent?

Answer: See question 7

Question 19

How many times there should be an in and out of stock?

Answer: Orders of publications are sent on a daily basis. Deliveries of new/reordered publications are less regular and take place in average once a week.

Question 20

Number of Stock Keeping Unit?

Answer: At the moment there is a pick-and-pack area and an area dedicated to pallets. However, the service providers can organise the warehouse at their convenience.

Question 21

For a title, ABC curve: can you give us the history of your stocks (minimum of quantities to maintain)

Answer: On average the number of incoming new titles is 60 per year, corresponding to approx. 15,000 copies. Every two months, CTA re-orders copies of publications to cover the orders for a period of 1 year. The total number of copies of publications in stock is around 290,000 copies and is relatively stable.

Question 22

Can you provide us with a precise planning of the different events for each country?

Answer: CTA organizes a few dozen large event and a few dozen small events (e.g.. workshops) per year which can be held in any European or ACP country depending on a number of factors. No planning can be made available.

Question 23

Kilos sent (Rest of the world/Europe) = what does it mean?

Answer: Kilos sent (rest of the world, mainly Africa) – by post: total weight of the orders sent by post outside Europe (mainly Africa)
Kilos sent (Europe) – by post: total weight of the orders sent by post to Europe
Kilos sent by airfreight or courier (rest of the world and Europe) for individual mail orders: total weight of the publications/promotional material sent by airfreight or courier to Europe or outside Europe within the framework of events and book donations.

Question 24

Number of items / order? How many orders (historic of the orders)?
Number of orders sent to subscribers in 2015: 7,000
Number of copies ordered by subscribers in 2015: 48,000
Number of copies sent by order in 2015: between 6 and 7

Number of orders sent each year

2014: 5,700
2013: 6,000
2012: 10,000

Question 25

Are all items/boxes barcoded at arrival, or do we still need to barcode the boxes?

Answer: At the moment the items/boxes are not systematically barcoded at arrival.

Question 26

How many magazines/publications fit in one box? Do we need to count every single copy in a box, or can we count on box level?

Answer: The number of publications in a box depend on the title (from 10 for the very thick books to 500 for the magazines).

Answer: Concerning the counting:

The first box of a specific title will be counted and weighed; the subsequent boxes will be weighed (if the weight is equal to the weight of the first box, we can assume that the number of copies is the same as in the first box. If not, the subsequent box with a discrepancy needs to be opened and counted).

Question 27

How are the various orders (publication orders/ Bulk mail orders/ Individual mail orders) packed? Foiled in plastic, packed in carton? Please specify.

Answer: See question 13

Questions concerning Annex 5: Financial offer

Question 28

Annex 5: Financial offer

Our rates are based on real volumes and prices. Can we provide you with our reference grid in addition to our reply in the financial offer document?
We do not envisage any price revisions for the storage and processing costs. What about the increases of the costs from one year to another? We usually propose a formula based on life indicators which enables us to adapt our prices to the market reality. Can we propose our formula?

Answer: Annex 5 has to be completed as requested. Tenderers can provide additional details if they wish.

Tenderers can include a price revision formula and an annual price increase in their financial offer for ALL their services, NOT ONLY postage costs, prices of paper and transport charges as stated in the footnote of the financial offer template (Annex 5 of the invitation to tender). However, the estimated total cost for the 4 years cannot exceed the maximum budget available for the contract indicated in Annex 2 of the invitation to tender.

Question 29

Can you please provide a profile of the mailing send by post (mailing to the rest of the World):

Frequency per title

Answer: See Excel file 160427_2015_Yearly distribution for the orders sent to subscribers

Weight per title

Answer: See attached file for the publications in stock on 27 April 2016 (160427_Stock publications with weight)

Dimensions per title

Answer: See question 12

Question 30

Is Registered Mail only used for the countries Benin, Cameroon and Zambia? Will other destinations be added in the near future?

Answer: Registered mail is only used for Benin, Cameroon and Zambia. In a near future we do not envisage any other destinations.

Question 31

Are you sending sorted shipments (> 5kg post per destination) at this moment / existing situation?

Answer: At the moment the shipments are not sorted.

Question 32

Please specify the number of pallet places (1,80m height) required for storage; table 1 Annex 3 does not provide this information.

Answer: See question 7

Please specify how many of magazines/ publications fit on one 1,80m pallet location.

Answer: An average of 1650 publications per pallet (120 x 100 cm).

With regards to Transport: Please could you specify the exact pick-up locations and number of transports from each location.

Answer: Number of incoming new titles is 60 and number of re-order titles also 60. As the publishers and printers CTA is working with regularly change, exact pick-up locations and number of transports from each location cannot be provided. However, our publishers/printers are generally located in Europe, mainly in France, the Netherlands, and the UK.

With regards to Various printing works: Please could you specify the type of print you expect (black/white/ Full colour).

Answer: In general, various printing works consist of printing copies in black and white for the personalised letters (we provide the letterhead paper) or in colour (with our logo) for the non personalised letters.

What is the exact distribution (countries) of the 17,300 kg mail orders send to Rest of the World?

Answer: See our file 10427_Orders 2015_Sorted by countries (it includes the orders/publications sent to subscribers, for events, book donations and mailings).

Question 33

Could you please specify the 150 shipments mentioned under 'Transport'?:

(average) weight of shipment

+/- 50 kg each shipment


Mainly Africa

are the shipments on pallets or in boxes

Answer: In boxes.

division in road, sea freight, airfreight and courier services

Answer: Most consignments are sent by courier. Road, sea freight and airfreight are exceptions.

what do you mean by courier services?

Answer: Services like DHL or Fedex.

Question 34

The contract is for 1 year and then there is a renewal each year during 3 years: question about the prices we will provide

Postal prices and transport can be reviewed, but can we review the rates at the end of the year (when new postage/transport rates are usually released) or do we have to review them only at the end of the 1st year of the contract (ex: for a contract signed from June year N > June year N+1)?

Answer: If a price revision is anticipated for the end of the year, it has to be reflected in the prices proposed for the current year.

See also question 28

Questions concerning Annex 6: General conditions for CTA contracts

Question 35

General terms are not fully adapted to our activity:

Can we give precisions/terms more adapted to our activity/our specificities in case of success following the submission of the tender?

Answer: Our general conditions are valid for all our contracts. They may be amended by "Special conditions" which are negotiated and agreed by both parties and are then annexed to the contract and form an integral part thereof. A copy of CTA's service contract template is attached for ease of reference.

Question 36

B1, 4th paragraph
Could CTA please explain what kind of claims and losses this refers to? This article needs to be drafted "reversed": to what amount and for what grounds is CTA liable?

Answer: See question 35

Question 37

B2, 1st paragraph
Could you please explain what is meant by "his implementation of the contract"? What is the actual purpose of this indemnification?

Answer: See question 35

Question 38

B2, 2nd paragraph
The phrase "and any prejudice which may be incurred as a result of any such failure" is not acceptable for Contractor. Could you please delete this phrase?

Answer: See question 35

Question 39

B5, 1st paragraph and B9a
Due to the position on the market of Contractor, Contractor is obliged by law – in case of amendments in terms, conditions and prices – to amend these for every client equally (non-discrimination).Therefore Contractor requests to change this clause with a the authority of Contractor to change the conditions and prices unilateral, however if these changes have a demonstrable negative effect on the business of CTA with such effect that it cannot be expected of CTA to continue this contract, the contract may be terminated with a two month written notice. Is this acceptable for CTA?

Answer: See question 35

Question 40

Which Special Conditions is CTA referring to? We cannot accept any conditions which we have not received in order to assess.

Answer: See question 35

Question 41

B9 f-j, 16l
Contractor is not able to provide any (bank)guarantees. Could CTA please remove the request/condition for any guarantees in this regard?

Answer: See question 35

Question 42

B11, last paragraph
We cannot agree on the right to set off. Are you willing to delete this article?

Answer: See question 35

Question 43

B14, B16a, B16 2nd paragraph
We cannot agree on the penalties and liabilities in these clauses for any of the services. (As for the postal services the limitations of liability as set forth in the law apply, we cannot deviate and accept any other or additional liabilities and/or penalties.)

  • Can you confirm that in case of delay Contractor will always first have a reasonable term to comply with the terms of the agreement before there is any default? And could you confirm that in case of default termination of the agreement is possible subject to three months notice?
  • Could you please delete the penalties and the right to claim damages/compensation and interests in these clauses?

Answer: See question 35

Question 44

Contractor cannot accept this ground for termination. Could you please delete this phrase?

Answer: See question 35

Question 45

B16, 3rd paragraph
We cannot agree on the fact that CTA may enter into an agreement on behalf of Contractor. In case CTA terminates the agreement on grounds mentioned in B16 a till m, the relation between CTA and Contractor ceases immediately.

Answer: See question 35

Question 46

B16, 4th paragraph
We cannot agree with this clause. When CTA terminates the agreement, CTA will pay the amounts due for the services rendered up to moment of termination.

Answer: See question 35

Question 47

Can you confirm that Dutch law is applicable to this agreement? Furthermore, we cannot agree on arbitration. Are you willing to change this so that any disputes that may arise in connection with this agreement, or further agreements that may result from it, will be settled by the court of law in Utrecht, the Netherlands?

Answer: See question 35

Questions concerning Annex 7: CTA CV form

Question 48

Concerning Annex 7 CV-form: We understand the need for professional capacities on our sites and in the project team involved in CTA. From privacy point of view, we are not able to fill out all the details you ask in Annex 7. We would like to ask if we are allowed to fill in the said Annex anonymously and focus on training and expertise per member of the team.

Answer: All information communicated to CTA by tenderers is and remains confidential.

CTA must be able to assess the technical skills of the key team members proposed by the tenderers (15% of the technical score) and also be ensured, if the contract is awarded, that the proposed team members will be those effectively carrying out the tasks. Therefore, anonymous CVs are not accepted.