Parcel and Postal Expo is the largest event for courier services in Europe and it is taking place in Amsterdam this year. What is different is the new emphasis placed on e-mobility — not only EVs, but also charging infrastructure. Having followed the trade show for a few years now, the shift is visible and e-mobility has never played such a significant role here before. My role has also changed over the years and I am in Amsterdam today with two of my clients that I have the pleasure to provide with consulting services on EV solutions — Voltia and InPost. The big question: what’s on the horizon for electrified postal services?
There are two major elements that will drive the change: First, we are now getting electric vans of all shapes, from smaller ones like Renault Kangoo, through midsizers like the Nissan Voltia, to large ones such as the E-Crafter. Secondly, there’s the whole area of mail delivery in national services, in which cargo e-bikes and electric scooters could come on board and make such delivery services so much easier and more environmentally friendly (they would surely make my local postman happy). All of the above models and sizes were present at the show, representing most of the world — Australia, China, the USA, and the EU.
It is an exciting moment, as most postal companies are only beginning to plan, let alone implement, e-solutions in their operations. Unlike Amazon, which can use resources gained from avoiding taxes to order a fleet of electric trucks, most companies carefully and more gradually plan investments and a shift to e-mobility. Bigger and smaller pilot programs are popping up here and there today. They are supposed to help companies gain more confidence and build internal know-how of the revolution they cannot avoid any longer. With proper consulting, the transition can be delivered in a smooth and rewarding way.
Another novelty emerging during the show was charging stations built in parcel lockers. I’m especially thrilled to say the pioneering solution has been introduced by a Polish company, InPost, where I made my small contribution. These parcel lockers will be particularly useful to companies relying on EVs in their operations. Unloading parcels takes time, and that is a precious potential charging period. In the future, apps may tell the courier driver to wait another 5 minutes and charge up, knowing the route ahead and the whole delivery schedule. A charging station rollout like this opens up many options for developing an extensive charging network that is accessible publicly. Even if that is not within the core business of postal companies, it will help the general transition into a better, cleaner, and funner electric transport. All it takes is more visionary leaders like Rafał Brzoska and Sebastian Anioł from InPost, who see opportunities in the shift to e-mobility.
I am sure many managers and executives of postal companies from all over the world benefited from the 20+ electric vehicles they could test ride in and experience first-hand during this year’s show. My hope is it will lead to further bold decisions to introduce EVs of all kinds and sizes into courier and mail services. The bottom line here is these actions make a real difference in the quality of air in city centers and the level of noise we experience every day. It is not just business, but also values, that we should all strive for.