Parcel lockers overloaded due to e-commerce boom in Latvia

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Due to trade constraints imposed in Latvia, the e-commerce sector is booming – for the first time in January the turnover was higher than during the holiday season, Latvian Radio reported January 31.

Last year has been the year of e-commerce breakthrough, and nearly half of Latvian households have used automated parcel lockers. Delivery service Omniva employee numbers grew by a third, and the couriers are organized in four shifts nearly all day long. The delivery sector has encountered the lack of vans available on the rental market, but most often there is a lack of parcel lockers, despite significant increases in the number and size of locker sites in the months before the pandemic took hold.

The chief executive of Omniva, Beāte Krauze-Čabotare, said: “It was a thing we started dealing with already last year, we ordered additional modules to expand the number of existing lockers. But we also became victims of the Covid-19 crisis because that order was delayed from China. We had planned to get it in November, but it was delayed until the end of December.”

The company will expand its network throughout the Baltic, and Latvia will have more lockers in big cities, as well as small towns where there is currently no service. At the locations where there is the greatest load on parcel lockers, customers are asked to collect the package as soon as possible. If done within two hours, there is a gift code for a free coffee.

“There are often situations that there are 100 lockers in the machine, but 300 shipments must be placed there, which is unrealistic to do in one day. Accordingly, consignments are handed out directly from the van,” said Beāte Krauze-Čabotare.

The volume of shipments in Latvian Post lockers has increased by about 50% since October. Employees from other Latvian Post departments are involved in handling the shipments, said spokesman Mārcis Vilcāns.

“The number of couriers has also increased, but unlike other companies, we certainly have a much higher number of employees,”  Vilcāns said.

The delivery industry representatives estimate that Internet purchases and their delivery will remain highly relevant even after the end of the emergency, as consumers have become much more familiar with how lockers and drop-off points operate.

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