Photo: Wikipedia / Klaus Mueller, 2006.
Urban Freight Station: DHL Packstation
The growth of parcel deliveries to individuals, mostly the outcome of online sales, incited the setting of urban freight stations handling small to mid-sized parcels. This enables the consolidation of parcel deliveries bound to a specific neighborhood (a cluster of customers) and avoids the risk of missed deliveries when the consignee is not present at home. Customers have the option to pick up parcels at any time using a pickup code. This is usually done by major parcel carriers. For instance, the above photo represents a "PackStation" or automated locker banks, thousands or which were set at accessible locations in German cities. Further, several online retailers are generating sufficient volumes to establish such a network independently from standard postal or parcel services, such as Amazon. The number and size of such facilities is a function of the frequency and intensity of parcel deliveries. If demand surpasses the capacity of the freight station, another can be added nearby or at a better market serving location. Still, consumers prefer deliveries to their homes and locker boxes have a real estate cost, meaning that the cost difference difference between home and locker-box delivery is not that significant.