Parcels in winter traffic jams
Amsterdam, 3 December 2010. Icy temperatures and, in some cases, heavy snowfall across large parts of Europe obstruct traffic. Parcel service pro-vider GLS warns that delays in parcel handling may occur.
The early and severe onset of winter has led to considerable road traffic disturbances, especially in central and eastern Europe. Service providers like GLS, who primarily rely on road-based transports for their parcel and express services, have to contend with chaotic traffic conditions in some places. Conditions for GLS are particularly hard in Germany, Ireland, south-eastern France, northern Italy, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
“Our production processes are highly industrialised and the long distance transports are exactly coordinated with each other”, explains Rico Back, CEO of GLS. “Due to the weather, there are congestions everywhere, in some instances also motorway closings and impassable rural roads at the moment. A lot of parcels do not arrive on time at the hubs for sorting or cannot be forwarded. We already have space problems in some locations.” GLS hubs and depots are transhipment centres geared towards quick parcel forwarding and consequently have only limited storage capacities.
“GLS has prepared itself of course – for the higher parcel volumes in the Christmas season as well as for the winter”, says Back. Vehicles are equipped with winter tyres. In eastern Europe, where temperatures are supposed to fall even further, drivers are changing to winter diesel. “The current parcel surpluses will be reduced with additional work shifts. We will also deliver on weekends in all of the hard hit areas and countries”, says Back. “Nevertheless, delivery and some collection delays may still occur. We hope that our customers and parcel consignees will understand.”
The situation in individual countries:
There were heavy snowfalls and obstructions especially in Kärnten and eastern Austria. A number of GLS line hauls arrived late so that delivery was delayed.
Almost everywhere in Germany, road conditions are chaotic. The East is particularly hard hit. A number of GLS transports and deliveries are delayed. In some GLS depots, swap bodies are currently in shortage.
GLS Europe East
Traffic is strongly disrupted especially in the mountainous regions of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Although GLS prepared itself, many others on the road did not. A lot of trucks were jack-knifed; motorway sections were closed. GLS had to put up with heavy delays for about half of its long distance transports.
At the beginning of this week, there were heavy snowfalls throughout all of southeastern France. The government imposed driving bans, blocking transports on the north-south axis. The weather is expected to improve in the coming week. A lot of customers had held parcels back because of the winter onset. GLS France is expecting a massive increase in volumes and is making preparations so that it can continue to provide high quality parcel handling.
In Ireland, the Gulf Stream usually keeps winters mild. Very few are equipped for the snow and frost covering the island. Road gritting services, winter tyres and road salt bins are not common. As a consequence, parcel transport traffic is strongly impeded, especially in the Carlow region.
There are strong snowfalls throughout northern Italy, not only as usual in the mountains but also at lower elevations all the way down to Lake Garda. GLS long distance transports were delayed, temporarily affecting delivery times.
Temperatures of minus 20 degrees and below and about one half metre of snow obstructed transports throughout the entire country. A lot of roads were closed for trucks. GLS Poland was forced to temporarily suspend parcel collection in some regions.
The GLS Group in Europe
General Logistics Systems B.V., Amsterdam (GLS), is a pan-European company providing reliable, high-quality parcel and express services as well as value-added logistics solutions. The company offers its services through wholly owned and partner companies in 36 European states, and is globally connected via contractual agreements. The GLS system consists of 38 central transhipment points, 665 depots and 12,500 employees. Some 16,950 vehicles transport 345 million parcels annually for 220,000 customers throughout Europe. In the financial year 2009/10, GLS achieved revenues of 1.7 billion euros. GLS stands for “European Leader in Quality“. This is something that everyone working for GLS strives to achieve every day.