Dutch Bol.com platform acquires cargobike network Fietskoeriers

Bol.com platform acquires Dutch cargobike network Fietskoeriers. This is a significant step forward to more sustainable deliveries and offers good opportunities for expanding the local-for-local ambitions of Bol and its plaza partners.

Ahold Delhaize announces today that bol.com, its online retailer in the Benelux, enters into a strategic alliance with delivery expert Cycloon. The parties intend to jointly accelerate the growth of Cycloon and share the ambition to make delivery more sustainable and social.

Accelerate sustainable and flexible delivery

With the growth of the e-commerce and related logistics sector, challenges are increasing in delivery capacity and impact on the environment and infrastructure. The partnership with bol.com allows Cycloon to substantially accelerate its green and social delivery mission, creating a future-proof position with substantial growth opportunities in a competitive market. For bol.com, the partnership ensures that a larger share of parcels can be delivered by cargo bike and that the online retail platform can offer customers the best service in delivery.

Bol.com has ambitious sustainability goals, and the collaboration with Cycloon contributes substantially to this. Vincent Weijers, Director of Logistics & Operations (COO) at bol.com: “We are huge believers in Cycloon’s sustainable and social mission. At the same time, it is a unique opportunity for bol.com and its sales partners to accelerate the sustainability of our growing parcel delivery business and expand our delivery capacity. Next to that, we can further improve the convenience and service for our customers with flexible and smart delivery. Moving towards a sustainable and socially responsible last mile is crucial for the future of e-commerce, and we will continue to work with all our delivery partners to make this happen. With a majority stake in Cycloon, we are taking another step towards our stated ambition of reducing our direct footprint to 0 grams of CO2 emissions per parcel by 2025.”

Green and social

Cycloon sends mail and parcels to thousands of customers throughout the Netherlands with its national network of bicycle couriers and postal delivery staff. The company currently employs 600 people with a physical, mental, or psychological distance to the labor market who receive additional guidance from a job coach. Management and shareholders remain fully committed to Cycloon’s social culture and sustainable mission to grow the organization and create new jobs. Cycloon looks forward to continuing the delivery of mail and parcels for current and new customers and delivering parcels for bol.com after the completion of the transaction. This will include parcels from bol.com itself and parcels from sales partners who store their items in the distribution centers of bol.com.

Marieke Snoek, Managing Director Cycloon: “The partnership with bol.com allows us to make an impact on a much larger scale. We will continue to invest in our people, network, and partners, enabling us to improve and further expand the services we provide to our current and new customers. In doing so, we discussed at length the principles we stand for and continue to stand for as organizations.”

Ahold Delhaize strategy

Wouter Kolk, CEO Ahold Delhaize Europe & Indonesia, said, “I am proud of the strategic partnership we have accomplished together. It gives both organizations the opportunity to grow in a sustainable way. Investing in and improving the so-called ‘last mile’ of the delivery of online orders and making it more sustainable sits high on the agenda of both organizations. Working with Cycloon can contribute to having bol.com customers shop, however, whenever and wherever they would like.”

Bol.com has had parcels delivered in the Netherlands by parcel delivery companies such as PostNL and DHL. In addition, other web stores already have their own delivery service, such as electronics web store Coolblue and food delivery service Picnic.
Amazon has been building its own delivery network for some time. Zalando is also increasingly taking control of its own delivery. Traditional parcel delivery companies are having a hard time. They are losing market share, rates are not rising, and stock prices are down. This step of Bol.com shakes up the market in any case.

Investors in PostNL did not find this exciting news; the stock price rose 1.5 percent today. Still, the old delivery partners could lose 20 to 40 million shipments…. 

Walther Ploos van Amstel

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