Belgium’s bpost is expanding its use of parcel locker terminals beyond a trial started last year, with plans for 72 units to be rolled out by the end of the year.
The national postal operator is running the service under the brand “bpack”, as a way for consumers to pick up and deposit parcels 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Parcel locker terminals are being provided by a partnership between US mailing equipment giant Pitney Bowes and the UK parcel locker logistics specialist ByBox.
The partnership sees ByBox – which bought its own parcel locker manufacturer back in 2009 – providing and installing the hardware and software, with Pitney Bowes responsible for daily maintenance and servicing.
After last year’s trial of three machines, the companies say they are now working to complete installation of 32 bpack 24/7 parcel stations by the end of this month.
An additional order for 40 units is expected to be rolled out by the end of 2012, ready for full commercialisation of the service in 2013.
bpost rebranded its parcel service as “bpack” this time last year, bringing together its various separate parcel subsidiaries under the single brand, with ambitions to make use of technology like parcel terminals to push for a bigger share of the parcel market.
The company, which delivers about 23m parcels a year, said it wants to get to a network of 150 parcel locker terminals by the end of 2013.
It said the trial had proven the ByBox machines.
Jan Vandenneucker, boost’s managing director for parcels in Europe, said: “ByBox proved to be a true partner when we presented our 24/7 service for sending and receiving parcels via electronic lockers. Their experience and expertise matters when it comes to developing the solution as well as making it work.”
Parcel locker terminals have been in use in Germany – branded as “Packstations” by Deutsche Post DHL – for more than a decade, and in the last couple of years have begun to spread throughout Europe.
When parcels are delivered into a locker, recipients are sent an email, text message or postal card with a personal code they can input into the terminal’s touchscreen to gain access to their parcel any time of day or night.
Pitney Bowes, a company that has worked with other parcel terminal suppliers elsewhere, notably Australian firm TZ Ltd on a trial of the technology with Australia Post last year, said the technology would “cause a revolution in the delivery market”.
The world’s largest mailroom equipment provider said a focus on quality and service was the key to its partnership with bpost and ByBox.
Guido Rietti, regional general manager for Pitney Bowes in the Benelux area, Italy, Spain and Portugal, said: “Our vast postal sector knowledge enables us to source expert partners to fulfill specific solution requests. The ByBox partnership brings precisely the level of innovation, convenience and security that bpost demanded.”
Source: Post&Parcel/Pitney Bowes/ByBox