Coll-8: What we have been able to put in place is new capacity from the very start
A new Irish logistics business Coll-8 has said that the decision to start operations had “instantly boosted” the capacity of the Ireland’s delivery network by 10% and would see further expansion with every successive month.
The company’s Chief Operations Officer, Dave Field, has described how a surge in e-commerce orders during lockdown has left Ireland’s parcel industry stretched to the limits of its capabilities even before it’s asked to confront the extra volumes generated in the run-up to Christmas.
Earlier this year, Coll-8 announced that it had established a “fast, safe and environmentally friendly” delivery network by signing a partnership with one of the country’s leading retail businesses, BWG Foods.
The system, known as drop2shop, allows consumers to collect and return online purchases through participating stores in Ireland’s largest network of convenience stores and its market-leading brands, including SPAR, MACE, Londis and XL, avoiding the need for multiple courier vehicles by using BWG Foods’ existing 280-strong distribution fleet.
Mr Field said drop2shop would act as a “critical complement” to existing courier services.
“The fact that shoppers have been unable to visit high street stores for much of the last five months has led to an unprecedented surge in e-commerce sales and a significant rise in parcel deliveries.
“Despite the majority of shops reopening, consumers have not simply stopped buying online and that’s something which is of concern for retailers and delivery firms alike.
“They naturally welcome the business but are also conscious that until now there has only been so much capacity in the parcel sector and no-one can accurately predict how many additional orders will be placed by shoppers in the remaining months of the year.
“In previous years, the pre-Christmas increase in parcel volumes has resulted in some couriers trying to manage the situation by capping the number of items that they’re prepared to handle at any one time, leaving retailers facing delays and dissatisfaction at their busiest time of the year.
“What we have been able to put in place is new capacity from the very start which adds to the choice available for consumers and provides a welcome measure of certainty for retailers.”
Mr Field’s comments follow the publication of figures by Ireland’s Central Statistical Office (CSO) which showed that the proportion of overall retail sales generated by e-commerce during June was double that of the year before.
The decision by Ireland’s Government to lockdown the Republic on March the 27th was also preceded by research suggesting that the value of goods bought online by the country’s consumers was set to reach €2.8 billion during 2020 – 30 per cent up on the year before.
Although a start-up, Coll-8 has been set up by some of the domestic parcel industry’s most experienced professionals, including Mr Field, who co-founded the firm which became the Republic’s biggest independent supply chain business, Nightline.
Mr Field said that Coll-8 already employs 20 staff with plans for further recruitment in the pipeline.
He added that even before commencing deliveries, the firm had been signed up by a clutch of major UK retailers with negotiations involving other household name brands “well-advanced”.
“They are more than satisfied that we not only have the collective experience and expertise to deliver on our promises but that drop2shop is exactly the kind of innovative, cost-effective system that they and their customers need.
“More than giving them a straightforward, time-definite service backed up by a thoroughly robust IT platform which we’ve developed ourselves, drop2shop is a sustainable operation which immediately puts us at the forefront of efforts to limit the parcel industry’s environmental impact.”