PostNL expands its capacity in preparation for peak season

It’s no surprise that the coming holidays represent one of the busiest seasons ever for PostNL. In preparation for the expected dizzying increase in the number of parcels, which is expected to be 60 to 70 percent more than at the beginning of this year, the mail and parcel deliverer is planning ahead by expanding its delivery capacity.

Due to the corona crisis, capacity had already been increased by 40 percent. Still, the holidays demand another 20 to 30 percent to be added, according to Liesbeth Kaashoek, PostNL Parcels & Logistics Director, in conversation with NU.nl.

The company will rent additional storage locations and transport, and hire extra employees for sorting and delivery. Furthermore, the sorting centers will be fully operational on Sundays to handle the expected high volumes.

Parcel delivery growth
Due to Covid-19, the company noticed a great increase in online shopping among consumers. As a result, the company is benefiting from the boom in online orders, given that both small and medium sized web shops, in particular, made frequent use of PostNL’s parcel delivery service.

“Normally, we have tens of millions parcels to deliver during the holiday season,” says Kaashoek. In the corona era, PostNL delivered around 900,000 parcels daily. Since mid-March, the number has increased to about a million daily and now heads towards one and a half million on peak days.

The magic of the holidays
According to Kaashoek, the peak season for parcel delivery starts when Sinterklaas arrives in the Netherlands on 14 November. But although Sinterklaas is the starting signal, this is certainly not the only factor contributing to the increase in deliveries. Shopping events with growing popularity such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday contribute to the crazy season.

“We use extra trucks during the peak period, an extra thousand deliverers, and we work 24/7,” says Kaashoek. According to her, PostNL will do everything in its power to get all parcels delivered on time. “The corona crisis has also taught us to work with our customers – the web shops – to see how we can get parcels delivered at the right time.”

Incline for early shopping
Online shops will start their ad campaign sooner and spread out their deals and specials as much as possible, so it would be beneficial to start holiday shopping early this year. “It really helps if consumers think about ordering presents on time,” says Kaashoek. “We do everything we can to deliver orders on the agreed day.”

As part of its expansion plans, PostNL will be opening three sorting centers, which will contribute to further growth in parcel delivery next year. “Since the outbreak of the corona crisis, we have delivered to more addresses than ever before,” says Kaashoek. “These consumers, who started ordering online for the first time, may not continue to order the same things, but they will continue to buy online.”

No one can predict precisely the number of orders that the holiday season will bring, but the mail and parcel delivery giant remains calm and sure that it will come out on top. As Kaashoek puts it: “It’s an unpredictable period. But we are looking forward to it; it’s also a very nice period that we enjoy.”

PostNL in numbers
In its report for the third quarter of 2020, the mail and parcel deliverer reported that the continued growth of parcel delivery in the Netherlands and Belgium has increased its profits, and dividend distribution for 2020 will resume.

Nevertheless, the stock exchange showed a negative reaction to the quarterly report: PostNL’s share price fell by more than 6% in the first hour. This is probably because volume growth in parcels leveled off: from 24.8% growth in the second quarter to 16.8% in the third quarter.

The company posted sales of €742 million in the third quarter, an increase of €106 million compared to the same quarter last year. Normalized operating profit (EBIT) increased by €10 million to €36 million, while net income increased from €4 million to €28 million.

Written by Bárbara Luque Alanís