Bonn/Leipzig (dpa) – The post office wants to build hundreds of new parcel collection machines at German train stations in the coming months. The group announced a cooperation with Deutsche Bahn, according to which 800 packing stations will be installed at the railway facilities; most of them should be ready for use this year.
The first new machine recently went into operation at the central station in Leipzig. DHL currently has around 100 Packstations at train stations, and the cooperation is now intensifying.
At a Packstation, users can collect packages throughout the day, so they are not subject to the opening hours of post offices or kiosks. Deutsche Post DHL currently has some 9,000 machines of this type throughout the country.
Later this year, Deutsche Bahn will also start using the new parcel stations. These have a yellow zone in whose compartments only DHL delivers and picks up shipments, and a blue zone with which Deutsche Bahn offers the click-and-collect service “Box – The pick-up station”. Retailers and online stores can deposit products there for easy access by their customers; For example, travelers going home at night to pick up something they ordered from a station store during the day: the store is already closed, but the product is still available.
Train stations are upgraded
With the new service, the transport group wants to improve the train stations, local shops can earn points in the fight for customer favor with a 24-hour pick-up option. The aim is to “contribute with modern train stations and innovative services to the fact that travelers choose the environmentally friendly train as their means of transport more often”, said the director of DB Station & Service AG, Bernd Koch.
Swiss Post also uses the theme of climate protection in its advertising. In Thursday’s presentation, DHL manager Holger Bartels emphasized that a lot of CO2 is saved when a package is delivered to a packing station. If he compares the CO2 emissions that occur on average when sending parcels on the route between the depot and the place of delivery, then those at the packing stations are 30% lower than with home delivery.
Home delivery has long been a thorn in the parcel industry’s side because it is time-consuming and therefore costly for businesses. The industry has therefore been pushing other types of delivery for some time: DPD, Hermes and GLS rely mainly on kiosks and shops that also work for parcel companies and store shipments until they are picked up by the recipient. The Post Office also has these types of parcel stores, but also increasingly relies on collection stations that can be used day and night.
11,500 Packstations planned for the end of the year
The Post is setting the pace when it comes to expansion: according to its own statements, at the beginning of 2021 it had around 6,500 Packstations, now it is 9,000 and by the end of this year it should be 11,500, and by the end of 2023 even 15,000. new rail cooperation is an important component in the accelerated expansion.
Competitors in the parcel market are not as dependent on pickup stations as the market leader in Bonn. The online retailer Amazon, which partly handles the delivery of orders, claims to have had “lockers” at several hundred locations in Germany by the end of 2021, i.e. pick-up machines. Hermes and DPD, on the other hand, had a two-year pilot project in Hamburg where they installed machines at S-Bahn or U-Bahn stations.
This pilot operation expired after two years at the end of February, Bahn Manager Koch reported on Thursday. It was “promising enough” to want to offer pick-up machines in the area, “but now we have another partner in DHL.” DPD and Hermes are initially staying out of German train stations, and that also applies to the American giant: “Amazon Locker will not be available in train stations for the time being,” Koch said.