Bpost, the Belgian postal operator, will conduct between April and December 2012 a series of pilots in four cities throughout Belgium. The Post will assess the level of demand for and feasibility of two types of new local delivery services.
First of all the Post will team up with local retail stores to test the delivery of groceries. Bpost said it would set up a “national platform” to allow customers to schedule deliveries and combine multiple purchases from different merchants into one single delivery. The Post will also partner with local social services departments to schedule the delivery of laundry, medical supplies, as well as hot or cold meals to senior and disabled citizens.
These new services will involve scheduled deliveries, in some cases in the evening or during weekends. Postal unions are so far supportive as new services may help maintain workloads and ward off layoffs.
Depending on the results, the new services could be progressively introduced nationwide, starting at the end of 2012. The Bpost CEO, J. Thijs, said such services were building on the Post’s ubiquitous delivery network and the long-standing trust relationship between letter carriers and citizens. Depending on the pilots outcome, they may also represent a significant growth opportunity for the Post.
Bpost press release (in French) : http://www.bpost2.be/blog/fr/2012/02/15/bpost-livre-vos-courses-a-domicile/