The 5 top trends in parcel logistics

The 5 top trends in parcel logistics
Published on: Apr 27, 2017
Updated: Aug 18, 2022

According to statista, one in four Germans between the ages of 14 and 49 shopped online at least once a month in 2015. The e-commerce market is growing steadily and is now one of the most important areas of trade - the parcel logistics industry is booming! But the sector also has its weaknesses and problems, as already revealed in our Parcel Study. For example, delivery problems increase three to five times in villages and smaller towns compared to big cities. The most likely delivery time for parcel services is between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. - and thus in a period when the majority of the population works. Logistics service providers have already recognised these problems and are thus continuously developing new ways to deliver parcels more efficiently. In this article, we show the top 5 current logistics trends.

1) "Anticipatory Shipping"

Amazon has already filed a patent under this name. The model aims to transport goods to the region of the potential customer before the order is placed. This can work thanks to Big Data, which helps online retailers to anticipate the buying behaviour of their customers. This makes it possible to deliver faster and cheaper.

2) 3D printing

Amazon has also patented the idea of mobile 3D printers. Goods can only be produced and handed over to the customer freshly printed during delivery. Currently the printers are not yet suitable for everyday use, however as they are too sensitive to the inevitable bumps in road traffic.

3) Autonomous driving

The logistics company DPD worked out a thesis paper with two research institutes on future scenarios of autonomous driving. Among the scenarios developed is the idea of driver and vehicle meeting directly near the delivery area after the van has already been loaded at the parcel centre. Furthermore, mini-transporters could follow the parcel delivery driver at walking pace in pedestrian zones or mobile pick-up stations could be available near the customer on demand - the possibilities are manifold.

Image The presentation of autonomous delivery vehicles at DPD (Image:

4) Delivery location: your own car boot

If a parcel is not handed over to the buyer directly at the first delivery attempt, there can often be long delays before the customer actually holds their parcel in their hands. As also described in our parcel study, pick-up is strongly influenced by opening hours, speed of delivery and branch density. The new concept could provide a remedy: shipments are delivered directly to the customer's own car boot. This service is being tested by Volvo in Stockholm and DHL in cooperation with Smart. Parcels can thus be received at any time of day or night and returns can be taken along free of charge. This eliminates the need to pick up the parcel at a branch. All you need to do is register on the website and install an app - the rest is automatic. However, you should be careful not to park your car in locations that are difficult to locate or inaccessible to the parcel carrier. If the reception is disturbed, the lock cannot be opened.

5) Delivery of goods by drone, robot, airship and co.

New forms of goods delivery are -especially at present-at the centre of further developments in the industry. Large companies also see the potential for new ideas. Mercedes-Benz, for example, presented the concept "Vision Van" at the IAA 2016: a delivery van drives autonomously to the destination area and two drones on the roof bring the packages to the respective final destinations. Self-driving robots can also take off from the van, deliver parcels and eventually return to the belly of the van. Another model called "Vans and Robots" is based on normal Sprinter vans equipped with a racking system and a ramp. The driver hands over the parcels to a delivery robot from the start-up Starship, which rolls independently to the recipient on its six wheels. The small robots are controlled from the control centre and are able to communicate with their environment.

Image Vans & Robots from Mercedes-Benz and Starship (Image:

In cities with a lot of congestion and high CO2 emissions, the idea of load bikes is increasingly gaining ground in all possible variations and under various names. Amazon is even more futuristic - the online giant has patented airships. They serve as warehouses that hover over the city and distribute packages via drones.

Which trends will fully prevail in the future remains to be seen. But one thing is clear - a lot will change in parcel logistics. Customers are placing more and more value on the customer experience during shipping, and this is challenging logistics service providers and retailers alike. With our solution, we too contribute to improving customer satisfaction - for the best shopping experience from purchase to unpacking.

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