DHL salutes Packstation concept, plans expanded network

Ten years after introducing automated parcel mailing stations in Germany, DHL has revealed that its so-called Packstations now boast more than two million customers. And, the company said over the next four years it wants to see the number of users more than double to five million.

Deutsche Post DHL first introduced its pack stations as pilot facilities in Mainz and Dortmund in 2001.

Playing the equivalent role for parcels as mailboxes do for letters, the Packstations comprise a bank of storage lockers linked up to an electronic interface, which allows customers to drop off or pickup their packages.

The company now has 2,500 machines in more than 1,600 cities and towns around Germany.

DHL now plans to expand the capacity of its Packstation network, replacing older models with new modular machines first introduced last year. While current machines can handle around 76 packages at a time, the next generation machines will be able to handle up to 390.

New software is also planned for next year to make it even easier for customers to use the machines.

Jürgen Gerdes, Board Member of Deutsche Post DHL Letter, said the constantly growing number of users proved that the technology has “hit the mark” with customers.

He said the service has been particularly popular when used for e-commerce packages, since the Packstations allow round-the-clock collection of products by consumers.

“Business development in the area of the packing stations has exceeded our expectations,” said Gerdes. “For 2015 we have set ourselves the target five million customers.”

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