Estonian Post launched its network of automated self-service parcel terminals in Lithuania yesterday, with 35 terminals in 12 towns within the Baltic Republic.
The expansion of the postal operator’s Post24 network outside its home nation comes as part of a EUR 2m investment that intends to add to the 38 terminals already in Estonia.
Estonian Post – Eesti Post – said it is currently in the process of expanding its network to more than 100 terminals in the Baltic region, with plans to add units in Latvia “in the near future”.
The parcel terminals, which are supplied by Poland’s InPost, allow consumers to receive mail order or e-commerce purchases within secure lockers, which they can then access 24 hours a day. It provides an alternative delivery point for those who cannot be at home during the working day to receive a parcel.
Aavo Kärmas, CEO of Estonian Post, said: “Our role is to contribute to the development of e-commerce. Post24 parcel network expansion has been spurred by real customers´ interests and expectations.”
Estonian Post said it was investing in the parcel terminals ahead of an expected boom in e-commerce parcel volumes – volumes have been increasing by up to 20% in the rest of Europe, but Estonia and the Baltics region “is still waiting” for a similar growth surge, it said.
In Lithuania, the e-commerce share of the retail market is 1-2%, compared to 6% in Europe, the Post said, “so there is considerable potential for growth in this area”.
The company said the main driver for e-commerce growth would be consumers seeing that delivery was convenient.
Kärmas said: “Parcel services should not be developed with the growing customers’ needs only, but the service enhancement has to be always one step ahead by offering innovative, convenient and customized delivery solutions.”
There is already plenty of competition in the Baltic region in providing parcel terminals, with Lithuania Post stepping up its plans to install more units, and Finland’s Itella expanding its network in the Baltic Republics.
Estonian Post said it has already seen volumes delivered to parcel terminals in Estonia double since January.
Joona Saluveer, business manager of Post24 for the Baltic States and the head of Estonian Post’s Lithuanian subsidiary, said having “quick, convenient and affordable” delivery with 24-hour access was key for both buyers and sellers in e-commerce.
Saluveer said: “Parcel terminals are easy to use – similar to an ATM. The menu on the touchscreen is simple and logical. I believe that soon all online shops, catalogue sellers and the senders of the parcels in Lithuania will prefer self-service post offices, as has happened in Estonia.”
The Post said its network in Lithuania covers the main centres of population in the country, with surveillance equipment ensuring security for parcel delivery.
As well as receiving parcels from mail order or ecommerce purchases, the Post24 parcel terminals will allow individuals to drop parcels off for delivery.
Initially, this will be restricted to domestic delivery to another Post24 terminal, but by the end of the summer the Estonian and Lithuanian networks should be fully linked up to allow cross-border delivery.
Source: Post&Parcel/Estonian Post