Parcel volumes at "pre-christmas level" and delivery staff as heroes of the pandemic: at the height of the corona crisis, the parcel industry was quick to talk about supposed winners of the crisis – but the reality is not quite so rosy.
"We are not the winners of the crisis, but we have proven that we can work in a stable and reliable manner even in times of crisis," said the chairman of the federal association of parcel& express logistics (biek), marten bosselmann, at the presentation of a recent study in berlin.
A central result: the collapse of business mailings, i.E. The B2B business, is leaving traces in what is actually a flourishing industry.
From the middle of march, stores in germany closed their doors for several weeks, and people went home to sleep. Those who wanted to shop did so online. But despite the high demand for online commerce during the corona crisis, the parcel industry does not expect a rapid increase in the volume of shipments.
The backsliding in the business sector is too great for that. Many stores in the retail sector no longer needed deliveries of goods, factories were at a standstill, production chains were interrupted. Even after the first relaxations, the normal state is still far away.
For example, biek expects a corona-related decline of three to five percent in national business-to-business (B2B) parcel shipments. This has a major impact on the industry: in 2019, business broadcasts accounted for almost half of the total volume, which corresponds to 1.6 billion broadcasts transported.
The overall forecast therefore looks less rosy than the overloaded delivery vehicles in april and may would have us believe. The association, which unites the major DHL competitors such as hermes and DPD, expects a maximum of 1.5 percent more parcel, express and courier shipments in 2020 than in the previous year, and perhaps even one percent less in a more pessimistic scenario.
In 2019, on the other hand, it recorded an increase of 3.8 percent compared to the previous year. Looking further back, growth has been at a similar pace: since 2000, mail volumes have risen steadily, averaging 4.1 percent per year, thanks to online commerce.
In any case, the growth driver in the corona year 2020 will be the private customer market, which is expected to grow by 3.5 to 7 percent in national parcel shipments thanks to many private home orders. Since the trend has been towards online shopping for years, corona could be an additional accelerator here.
In the long term, the industry association, which unites DHL’s major competitors, remains optimistic and predicts that the volume of shipments will increase to 4.48 billion by 2024. 3.65 billion shipments in 2019. This includes courier, express and parcel shipments. The industry’s revenue last year was 21.3 billion euros, exceeding the 21 billion mark for the first time according to the association’s figures. It increased by 4.4 percent compared to the previous year.
DHL, the industry giant, is also preparing to keep parcel volumes high. In ludwigsfelde in brandenburg, a center was completed on wednesday where 50,000 parcels per hour will be sorted using special technology from 2022 onwards. According to the parcel service provider, it is the third of its kind in germany, after the centers in obertshausen in hesse and bochum in north rhine-westphalia.
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