PostNL trials self-service parcel terminals in Dutch city

PostNL has launched a trial using self-service parcel lockers to allow customers to pick up parcels and ecommerce purchases 24 hours a day. The Dutch postal operator has installed a parcel locker terminal at the train station in Almere, the Netherlands’ youngest city, just across the Ijmeer lake east of Amsterdam.

Along with the Almere Central Station, two other parcel locker terminals will be installed at an Esso filling station and at a PostNL Business Point in the city. Parcel terminals are being provided by Polish supplier InPost.

The three-month trial launched yesterday looks at how parcel lockers can be used by online shoppers that cannot be at home during the working day to receive their parcels.

PostNL said research suggested 12% of online customers would prefer to collect parcels from a public collection point.

The company said the parcel lockers were easy to use, with customers sent an access code as soon as their package arrives at the terminal, with which they can open the specific locker holding their item.

PostNL said customers would also be able to send parcels from the locker terminals, purchasing postage online and leaving the items in one of the secure lockers.

Customers in Almere who are not home to receive parcels will receive a note through their letterbox showing how to use the PostNL MijnPakket service to redirect their parcel to the parcel terminal, or for collection at a home or work address at an alternative time.

Gerrit Mastenbroek, general manager at PostNL Parcels, said: “By introducing the parcel locker, PostNL is further expanding the consumer’s delivery choices.

“Many people are busy and aren’t at home much during the day. What a nice idea to know that you can pass by the parcel locked on your way home and pick up your delivery. That makes buying online even easier,” added Mastenbroek.

Parcel terminals

Parcel terminals have been in use within Germany – as DHL’s Packstations – for more than 11 years, and have been increasing in popularity in Europe in the last year as ecommerce becomes a more important part of society.

As well as neighbouring Germany, parcel terminals are also being used by bpost in Belgium, and have been in use in Luxembourg for some years.

PostNL said a further rollout of the parcel terminals in the Netherlands will depend on how the Almere trial goes. Part of the trial will be to see which kind of locations are preferred for parcel lockers.

The company said it chose Almere for the trial because the city is home to a lot of commuters, who don’t tend to be at home during the day, and because online shopping is popular in the city.

Annemarie Jorritsma, the Mayor of Almere, said: “In Almere, many people shop online. In fact, Almere was even designated Online Shopping City 2011 by PostNL.

“The parcel locker is a welcome development. This is a test case for PostNL and we’re very happy to be the guinea pigs. Now we can decide when and where to collect our parcels,” added the Mayor.

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