COVID-19: Update on parcel delivery

Published on 20 March 2020
Maxi Lina Weber
Maxi Lina Weber
Social Media Manager

We are currently facing a global pandemic. For now, the Coronavirus dominates the news and we experience how our lives are restrained by this unprecedented situation. In this time of immense concern, the governments are increasing safety measures to contain the rapid spread. Being a parcel delivery and supply chain 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 and business partners to the best of our abilities and help curb further spread of the virus at large.

In the following, we have collected the most important information around the delivery of parcels in the European network. The current situation is developing dynamically so that we may have to adjust our measures on a daily basis. 

What precautionary measures do Hermes BorderGuru and Hermes take?

All employees at the company’s headquarters in Hamburg and at all other locations are continuously kept informed of essential measures. These measures are based on the official recommendations of the authorities and the Robert Koch Institute; they are reviewed daily and adjusted at short notice if necessary. 

Are there restrictions or delays in parcel operations?

Right now, we can fulfill our home delivery service without restrictions, since the closure of the borders only applies to people, not goods transport. Also, airports and customs clearance are in operation. 

In case, a site must be closed, we can ensure to remain fully operational and to work at full capacity. Our state-of-the-art logistic centers are multifunctional, which allows us to redirect shipments and to process them in any other Hermes site. Even if we, at some point, need to close down single sites completely, because of a Corona outbreak, we can ensure the infeed and processing of goods. That may cause delay in deliveries. If single service partners cannot operate because of Corona, we are able to extend or redirect the shipments in our network. 

Is an infection via parcels possible?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), 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.”

How can your customers easily avoid direct contact to our couriers?

If your customers prefer to avoid contact with couriers for the time being, they can use a storage location of your choice. If the parcel is left at their front door, under the gazebo, in the 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 they want to have their parcels delivered to a storage location of your choice on a permanent basis, they can request this here.

Due to the new situation and to align the delivery service to the circumstances in the best possible way to protect the health of couriers and customers, Hermes developed another digitally supported solution for contactless package acceptance via photo that meets current needs. The service just recently launched! Furthermore, the signature on the scanner is not needed anymore when picking up a parcel from the parcel shop – showing the ID is enough.

How is the situation in the different European countries? 

  • Germany:
    Hermes is currently working on the assumption that 70-80% of the more than 16,000 ParcelShops nationwide will remain open because they form part of facilities providing basic services. 
  • France, Spain, Belgium:
    Mondial Relay had to suspend the delivery offer to parcel shops in the entire network of Relay Points. Home deliveries continue for the moment with no additional barrier measures. 
  • UK:
    Currently, home deliveries within the UK are maintained and parcel shops are still open. 
  • Austria:
    The parcel shops in Austria operate at 50% level. 
Maxi Lina Weber
Maxi Lina Weber
Social Media Manager