Hurt locker: Why the US and UK need more parcel lockers urgently

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New research by international courier ParcelHero shows more drop boxes will reduce emissions and improve service

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More parcel lockers are needed urgently, says ParcelHero

Parcel lockers are the obvious solution to the problem of increased emissions and congestion caused by failed first time deliveries

Failed home deliveries have an environmental and social impact, says global courier ParcelHero. The e-commerce specialists say that, on average, 12% of parcels are not delivered when expected or are ‘carded’. This usually means a second delivery attempt, or the customer having to visit a parcels depot: both results create unnecessary journeys.

ParcelHero’s David Jinks MILT says: ‘ Our latest industry research reveals parcel lockers are the obvious solution to the problem of increased emissions and congestion caused by failed first time deliveries. Sited in convenient areas, customers can pick up their packages in their own time, 24-7.’

Says David: ‘More parcel lockers will eliminate the need for multiple delivery attempts. ParcelHero's study of the European delivery industry reveals Germany and France are leading the field in deliveries to lockers. In Germany DHL has 250,000 lockers and 20,000 parcel shops, and in France 60 million parcels (20% of all e-commerce generated deliveries) are sent to pick-up points or lockers. Yet our research shows the US and UK, the two largest western e-commerce markets, are significantly behind these figures currently.’

He adds: ‘There is little doubt about the economic benefit of introducing lockers; a well-known European Commision-funded study in Cologne shows that, in that city alone, as far back as 2006, 35,000 trip-km were saved annually as a result of its Packstation scheme.’

Reveals David: ‘It’s also notable that eastern European countries are expanding their locker services significantly faster than either the UK or US. In some countries there are now more lockers and drop boxes than post offices. In Poland the number of parcels sent via self-service machines grew by 90% last year compared to 2013, in Lithuania almost 20% of all items are delivered to lockers, and in Estonia, where only 5% of deliveries were made to parcel terminals in 2009, this had risen to a remarkable 52% by 2012.’

David acknowledges: ‘The situation is now improving both in the UK and USA. In the US all the major delivery companies have introduced limited trials, as have retailers such as Amazon. Now UPS has grabbed the bull by the horns and, as the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday, will increase shop Access Points from a few thousand to 20,000 by the end of the year. It’s a good start, but customer operated 24-hour lockers should be the ideal way forward, rather than relying on local businesses. And in the UK, while drop off and collection points through the likes of UPS and Collect Plus are increasingly popular, a recent Apex-Insight report reveals the introduction and impact of automated parcel lockers has been disappointing in the UK so far.’

Concludes David: ’24-hour lockers are the best way forward for online shoppers and e-retailers in the longer-term.’

For more information about greener deliveries and improving delivery options see:

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David Jinks
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