Christmas trade forecast Hermes is once again getting ready for record volumes: 137 million shipments expected by Christmas

After Hermes already transported record volumes last Christmas, the logistics expert expects volumes to increase again this year. Around 137 million parcels are expected in the months of October to December. This represents an increase of around 9 percent compared to the record quarter of 2020.

(Photo: Hermes)

+++ Around 9 percent more parcels and packages than in 2020: Hermes Germany is expecting around 137 million shipments from October to December 2021.

+++ On peak days, this will be up to 3 million parcels.

+++ Increase in sorting capacities. Among other things, a new location specialising in bulky items in Ludwigsfelde, Brandenburg, will be part of the network in time for the 2021 Christmas trade.

+++ At times, an additional 3,500 employees and 3,900 vehicles will be in use every day, with continuous digitalisation along the logistics chain supporting delivery and boosting productivity.

+++ Sustainable parcel logistics: E-vans, cargo bikes, alternative delivery concepts – more and more parcels are being delivered CO2-free.

+++ In time under the Christmas tree: The deadline for private customers to hand in their parcels is 20 December 2021: a first attempt to deliver by Christmas Eve will be made for all parcels that have been handed in to one of the more than 16,000 ParcelShops by this date. International shipping times vary. The standard deadline to hand in parcels for shipments within the EU is 14 December 2021. For information and deadlines for other countries, please visit (German website)

“We are well prepared for the second Christmas season under pandemic conditions,” explains Olaf Schabirosky, CEO of Hermes Germany. “Not least thanks to our ongoing developments in the digital area, sustainable optimisation of the last mile and our constantly modernised sites, we will once again do our bit this year to ensure that people’s packages and parcels are reliably delivered. In order to cope with the record additional volumes, we have expanded our personnel, vehicle and sorting capacities accordingly.”

Record: Around 9 percent more shipments than in the 2020 Christmas season

After Hermes already transported record volumes last Christmas, the logistics expert expects volumes to increase again this year. Around 137 million parcels are expected in the months of October to December. This represents an increase of around 9 percent compared to the record quarter of 2020. A year ago, almost twelve million items were delivered in the busiest calendar week 51 alone. Nonetheless, Hermes impressively maintained a stable delivery record and kept its promise of delivery by Christmas. Over 99 percent of the shipments reached their recipients in time for the celebrations.

Cushioning extra volumes: additional personnel and more vehicles

Numerous additional employees and vehicles are used to cope with the high volume of parcels. In the area of ​​delivery and for handling in the logistics centres and depots alone, an additional 3,500 workers will be brought in for support. A total of up to 15,000 delivery staff will be brought in by Hermes for the Christmas season. Depending on availability and the duration of their assignment, these workers are employed either on a fixed-term employment contract or through temporary employment agencies subject to collective bargaining. Hermes is furthermore expanding its vehicle fleet and increasing its transport capacities. Throughout Germany, around 3,900 additional vehicles are on the road for delivery every day.

Digitalisation improves efficiency and takes the pressure off delivery staff

With a view to continuously increasing shipment volumes, digitally driven optimisations along the entire logistics chain – and especially around a parcel’s last few meters to the front door or to the ParcelShop – are essential. They make a significant difference in cushioning the increasing quantities. Hermes is consistently expediting digitalisation of the delivery process and in this regard, the company is not only looking at the greatest possible convenience for the recipients, but also considering the employees who deliver the parcels every day. Among other things, Hermes is digitalising processes at its sites in order to achieve a greater degree of standardisation and better efficiency of its processes. One objective is to minimise the set-up times of route planning for delivery employees. To facilitate this, Hermes is making use of new digital tools, such as for digitally supported route planning or route sorting. These tools are based on the most advanced technological platforms in order to guarantee high service quality. At other sites, delivery routes are designed efficiently, and deliverers are supported in their day-to-day work by digital route-planning methods and multilingual, hand-held scanners with a wide range of applications. According to Olaf Schabirosky, “For us as a parcel service provider, the digitalisation of both the last mile and the processes before it is key to handling steadily growing and strongly fluctuating shipment volumes throughout the year with the usual high quality of delivery – especially against the background of limited human resources. We continuously analyse the potential for optimisation and implement large and small tools in our regular operations.” Two examples of this are the digital notification card, which constitutes a modern way of communicating with recipients, and digital issuing of drop-off authorisations for requirement-based receipt of parcels.

Multifunctional sites deliver even better performance

Hermes has prepared its sites for the Christmas season in the best possible way through continuously investing in technical equipment and implementing additional expansion stages throughout the year. The sorting capacities in numerous highly technological logistics centres have again been significantly increased. At the Hermes site in Berlin-Brandenburg alone, daily shipment processing has been boosted by 30 percent. Planning and control measures have also been optimised. Thanks to this mix, Hermes can guarantee fast redistribution and delivery even when there is a significant surge in volumes – such as over Christmas. In Ludwigsfelde in Brandenburg, the parcel service provider has expanded its network with a new site that specialises in unloading, sorting and shipping of bulky items, i.e. shipments that cannot go through the sorting system of a logistics centre (for example due to their size and nature) and thus require manual handling, just in time for peak season. The new distribution centre was prepared and then integrated into the network in the record time of eight weeks. Over 100 employees will henceforth be able to handle up to 35,000 shipments a day there. This will create additional capacities for normally sized parcels and packages of at other Hermes logistics centres throughout Germany.

Sustainable parcel logistics: An even smaller carbon footprint

With the volume of parcels increasing, Hermes is also focusing on measures with which to reduce its carbon footprint. “We have been working systematically on climate protection for many years and have firmly enshrined this as a corporate goal. Reducing CO2 emissions is an essential component at our sites and in our day-to-day operations,” says Olaf Schabirosky. And the company has been successful – from 2006 to 2020, Hermes Germany managed to reduce CO2 emissions for parcel transport by 38 percent and for its sites by 57 percent, through specific levers to avoid and reduce CO2 emissions in its core processes. In particular, through continuous electrification of its vehicle fleet, a network of pick-up and drop-off points comprising over 16,000 ParcelShops, digital services for parcel recipients to support the most precise deliveries and through the use and testing of alternative vehicle models in combination with micro depots, Hermes is making the last mile increasingly sustainable. Highly efficient systems and the use of renewable energies at the Hermes sites are another focus point of the company’s climate protection measures. “We are increasingly relying on e-mobility and green electricity, a state-of-the-art fleet of trucks, alternative delivery concepts, the expansion of our ParcelShop network and intelligent transport and route software for a high degree of transport efficiency, and avoiding unnecessary journeys through high capacity utilisation and appropriate services,” says Olaf Schabirosky in summary.

Precise volume planning and peak surcharge

To facilitate handling the challenging volume of shipments, Hermes works hand in hand with retailers. This includes, among other things, close coordination with regard to the volumes to be expected. This close cooperation has resulted in more precise forecasts for months now. Using this information, appropriate additional capacities in the form of personnel, vehicles and transport options can be planned at an early stage. In this way, Hermes facilitates the greatest possible flexibility within its own organisation, is always in a position to react quickly and guarantees consistently high quality of delivery, even when faced with extreme fluctuations in volumes. However, capacity building goes hand in hand with higher costs. Due to this factor, Hermes charges a peak surcharge, as it has done in previous years. This surcharge only applies to business clients – private packages remain free of surcharges.

Hermes submission deadlines for private Christmas packages

To ensure that private Christmas parcels and packages as well as pieces of luggage can be reliably delivered by 24 December 2021, the following applies to deliveries within Germany: Shipments should be handed in to one of the more than 16,000 ParcelShops in Germany by 20 December 2021 (before the shop closes). The last day for heavy luggage and parcels to be picked up at the front door is also 20 December 2021. Pick-ups must be ordered online or via Customer Service up to and including 19 December 2021 (until 8 p.m.). Shipping times for international shipments vary. For information and deadlines for other countries, please visit (German website). For small parcels and packages sent within the EU, 14 December should serve as a guideline. It may be possible to hand in parcels later than this in many neighbouring European countries. Shipments for delivery outside of Europe sometimes have to be sent much earlier. Punctual delivery by Christmas Eve will be attempted for all shipments handed in on time. Hermes will still deliver parcels nationwide on 24 December 2021. After a well-deserved Christmas break, the delivery staff will resume their work on 27 December 2021. Collection of luggage, e.g. for New Year’s holidays, will also be possible again from 28 December 2021.

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