Dutch PostNL opens up parcel lockers to other parcel companies

Dutch PostNL will open its parcel locker network to other carriers in 2023. This means that from then on, consumers will be able to pick up and send parcels from different carriers at a PostNL parcel locker. This is an exciting development in the parcel market to give consumers more (sustainable) delivery options.

Automatic parcel lockers allow consumers to decide where and when to pick up or drop off their parcels. Most PostNL parcel lockers are available 24/7. Opening up PostNL’s parcel lockers to carriers will make it easier for customers to pick up or send their parcels at a time of their choosing. This is good news for customers!

Barry Husman, Director of Retail Benelux PostNL, says: “Consumers enjoy using PostNL’s parcel lockers and find them extremely user-friendly. To further enhance the customer experience, we are now busy expanding the number of PostNL parcel lockers and working towards opening them.”

Integration with IT system

PostNL is committed to accelerating digitalization to provide customers and consumers with an even better and unique customer experience. PostNL is building an IT platform to open the parcel lockers so that other carriers can link to PostNL’s parcel machines. This way, consumers will soon be able to go to one parcel locker for parcels from different carriers.

Expansion of PostNL’s automatic parcel locker network

There are more than 400 PostNL parcel locker locations in the Netherlands in many different cities, including Almere, Tilburg, and Breda. The lockers are also at partners such as KPN, Jumbo, Gamma, Karwei, and Q-park branches. To reach the goal of 1,500 PostNL parcel locker locations by 2024, PostNL is in talks with municipalities and other interested parties.

Quite a few questions are still unanswered

PostNL’s press release says nothing about the costs other carriers will have to pay and how the ‘first mile’ to the parcel lockers will be arranged. When asked, a PostNL spokesperson tells Twinkle that carriers that use the automatic parcel machines pay a fee per locker reservation. The fee depends on the size of the locker and the number of days a parcel is in the locker.

The press release also says nothing about the necessary investments to expand the parcel locker network. PostNL just scored a poor quarter.

It is an interesting case for our students: does it become more sustainable, where do you put the parcel lockers, how do you plan the capacity, how do you regulate the provisioning of the parcel lockers, and how do you involve consumers on busy days to make smart use of the parcel lockers? And what would you do with the existing manned collection points? And finally, how do you develop local government policies for establishing parcel locker locations?

What will consumers do?

An exciting question is what consumers will do. Pick-up behavior has not changed in the last 10 years. Almost 90 percent of customers in the Netherlands have their parcel delivered to their homes (or neighbors); 13 percent of parcels are collected, increasingly in shops. Parcel deliverers are increasingly able to deliver by appointment. Then picking up is no longer necessary. A small group of consumers consciously chooses pick-up and is willing to pay for it.

That consumers will soon be able to go to one parcel locker for parcels from different carriers (and webshops) could be a game changer.

Walther Ploos van Amstel.

Photo: PostNL

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