The week that was: 24 December 2010

US imports and exports to grow, DP DHL modernises fleet, and Royal Mail takes on extra rounds… Ho! Ho! Ho! Welcome to a festive edition of ‘the week that was’. Put the turkey down and have a catch-up with Post&Parcel.

Economists are predicting that next year will see US imports and exports returning to pre-recession levels. Improving global trade is giving stronger confidence to supply chain managers, according to analysts from the trade intelligence service PIERS, who are forecasting a 7.7% increase in US container imports from Asia. The 13.4m 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) forecast for US trans-Pacific imports would be close to the 13.6m TEUs seen in 2007. For the US trans-Pacific exports, predictions are for a 4% growth to 6.4m TEUs. The predictions come following this year’s estimated 15.5% increase in US trans-Pacific imports and 4.3% increase in exports. “Our forecast is positive but moderate,” said Mario O. Moreno, economist for PIERS and its sister company The Journal of Commerce, both part of UBM Global Trade. “We look for growth in containerized imports and exports ahead, but there are many risks.” According to the National Retail Federation, import cargo volumes in US ports was expected to be up 9% this month, compared to December 2009, while the year as a whole should end with a 17% increase over 2009.

Over in Germany, Deutsche Post DHL received the first Mercedes Benz Sprinters from a total of 1,300 vehicles at the Mercedes-Benz branch Cologne/Leverkusen. The vehicles, which will be delivered and deployed in other German states by mid-2011, meet new environmental standards and are more ergonomically designed and safer. In addition to the delivery of the vehicles, the contract with Mercedes Benz includes such services as maintenance and repairs over the next nine years. “The modernisation of our fleet is an important part of our corporate strategy. These new vehicles will allow us to meet European standards, reduce emissions and thus cut the amount of pollution in road traffic. This makes them especially viable for the long-term in the sensitive, fine-particulate zones in German downtown areas,” said Thomas Zuber, head of business department, at Deutsche Post DHL. Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, echoed his enthusiasm: “We are very excited about this major order and are proud that such an important customer as Deutsche Post DHL relies on our vehicles,” he said.

In the UK, Royal Mail delivered to 2m homes through additional evening rounds this week. Adverse weather at the weekend left the operator penciling in more than 14,000 rounds from Monday to Thursday. Last week’s emergency Sunday service, together with the planned evening routes, meant that Royal Mail carried out around 25,000 extra delivery rounds by the time Christmas arrived. Mark Higson, managing director of Royal Mail, said: “We have had postmen and women on the streets for the last two Sundays in a row. Royal Mail is committed to doing everything possible to deliver letters, cards and parcels on behalf of its customers.”

And finally….

Next week, the team will be bringing you ‘the year that was’ – an annual review of all things post and parcel. It comes in three parts, so stay tuned!

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