Hermes Germany informs Coronavirus update

[Last update: March 26, 2020] Being a parcel delivery service provider, we are in a position to make an important contribution to the current situation by supporting the security of supply for the public with our services. Our top priority is to avoid infecting our employees, service partners and courier staff. It is equally important to protect our customers to the best of our abilities and help curb further spread of the virus in Germany at large.

(Photo: Hermes/Willing-Holtz)

[Last update: March 26, 2020]

What precautionary measures is Hermes Germany taking?

All our service partners have been informed of the required hygiene measures in detail and expressly requested to observe and comply with them. These measures are based on the official recommendations of the authorities and the Robert Koch Institute; they are continuously reviewed and adjusted at short notice if necessary. They include, for example, regular, intensive hand washing, observing sneezing and coughing etiquette etc.

Are there any delays due to the Corona crisis?

We are currently not experiencing any delivery restrictions or delays in Germany. However, there are time delays on transport routes within Europe due to border controls. Goods traffic is currently exempt from travel bans.

Is Hermes Germany seeing an increase in orders because more people than normal are working from home?

We currently see no indication that the Corona crisis will increase the volume of shipments. The Corona pandemic’s effects on online trading are only just beginning to be noticeable. Online retail – like the entire retail sector – is feeling the decline of consumer activity. On the other hand, online trading benefits from the fact that customers can continue to shop from home.

With a further increase in the number of infected people, online trading has the structural advantage of being able to send goods straight to your home. The risk of infection is extremely low in relation to brick-and-mortar retail – also through appropriate measures for delivery to your front door or to the ParcelShop. Our standpoint is that it is not a question of creating additional purchasing incentives, but of providing basic services to the public. Products range from everyday goods to urgently needed electrical appliances, such as a new washing machine or a refrigerator. In addition, online commerce is welcomed by the public because it is seen as one part of life that is continuing as normal.

In the medium and long term, however, the economic consequences are very difficult to assess. Because we don’t know how long public life will continue to be at a standstill, it is currently not possible to reliably predict its effects on the consumer economy.

Is Hermes Germany taking precautions to ensure that parcels do not carry the virus?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Robert Koch Institute, it is unlikely that viruses can be transmitted via parcels. The Coronavirus is transmitted via droplets; it does not survive long on surfaces such as plastic and paper. The absorbent surface of a parcel or letter, as well as air transportation, dries out the virus and destroys its envelope. The virus genome is also destroyed by sunlight or UV light. The WHO has stated: “We know from previous analyses that Coronaviruses do not survive long on objects such as letters or parcels.”

What measures are being taken to protect customers?

Given the need to avoid contact, customers can for example use a storage location of their choice. If your parcel is left at your front door, under the gazebo, in your garage or another safe storage location, delivery can take place without any point of personal contact. There is thus also no need to acknowledge receipt of the shipment on the scanner.

Customers can redirect their parcel to a storage location of their choice directly in response to the retailer’s parcel notification, via the Hermes app or via shipment tracking. If you want to have your parcels delivered to a storage location of your choice on a permanent basis, you can request this here (German service website): https://www.myhermes.de/service/dauerhafter-wunschablageort/

In order to make customers more aware of this option when placing their online orders, we are already in close contact with the shippers.  

The current situation is new to all of us. Our goal is to align our delivery service to the circumstances in the best possible way to protect the health of our couriers and our customers during the Corona crisis. Therefore, we launched a digitally supported solution for contactless package acceptance that meets current needs: the proof of delivery by photo.

On 16 March the Federal government announced that numerous shops and facilities will be closed. What impact does this have on ParcelShops?

The Federal government also announced that businesses such as retail shops for food, pharmacies, drug stores, gas stations, dry cleaners etc. should not be closed. We are currently working on the assumption that 70-80% of our more than 16,000 ParcelShops nationwide will remain open because they form part of facilities providing basic services. As of today, these will experience significantly more use. It is therefore important that ParcelShop operators control customer access and ensure that queues are avoided. We will support the shop operators in the best possible way in carrying this out and continuously provide them with information about the required hygiene measures.

ParcelShops that have to close informed us on 17 March already that they are no longer allowed to accept parcels. We are trying our best to collect the parcels from all the shops that have to close on their last opening day, so that no shipment remains left behind.

Our end customers are informed via the ParcelShop Finder. Until 30 April, all shops that are closed will no longer be displayed and can therefore no longer be selected.

After Hermes Germany introduced contactless delivery to the customer’s door only days ago, the company is now expanding this service to cover collections from ParcelShops.

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