Parcels: consolidated delivery does not bring benefits?

According to a study by the German industry association BIEK, the area consolidation in the parcel delivery reduces neither cost nor traffic in cities. The Federal Association of Parcel and Express Logistics (BIEK) comes to this conclusion in its study “Quantitative study of consolidated delivery on the last mile using the example of two KEP companies in the cities of Nuremberg and Munich”.

Area consolidation reduces the number of delivery vehicles by around 10% percent. The low consolidation benefits in logistical performance are lost by the required inter-depot traffic, even with favorable depot locations, according to the BIEK. It also leads to considerable more traffic (also in heavy goods vehicles). Tom Assmann, a researcher at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg, reacted: “Not considered is consolidation via micro-depots in the city. This could eliminate the negative effects of inter-depot traffic”.

Since 2002, the number of parcels delivered by parcel delivery companies in Germany has doubled; the average annual increase was 4.4 percent. In that period, employment has only increased by 2.5 percent per year. The number of vehicle kilometers increased by 1.6 percent per year. Between 2002 and 2019, parcel delivery productivity improved by 40 percent.

Instead of collaboration, BIEK wants alternative last-mile concepts that include interaction with the customers, route optimization, loading zones, desktop deliveries, micro depots and cargo bikes, white-label parcel stations, parcel shops, and optimized packaging. The study makes it clear that cooperation only yields results if the entire supply chain is viewed from end-to-end and not just ‘die letzten Meile’. Collaboration should start at collection and sorting; “die erste Meile.” Relevant issues are address intelligence, standard GS1 parcel labels, containerization, fewer returns and the exchange of transport and traffic data. The opportunities that the innovative Hyperloop offers for connecting central European distribution centers with low handling costs and low safety stock with fast delivery in urban areas is inspiring. That is a market for 40 to 60 billion shipments in Europe in 2025. This Hyperloop will not happen if the parcel delivery companies do not collaborate here.

There is still plenty to do in the parcel sector to achieve more productivity and better serve the consumer. The report from the German BIEK should not be an excuse for not cooperating more.

Walther Ploos van Amstel.


The author of the BIEK report is Prof. Dr. med. Ralf Bogdanski, Professor of Sustainable Business Management and Logistics at the Faculty of Business Administration at the Technische Hochschule Nürnberg Georg Simon Ohm.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *