By Bart Biesemans and Yves Herman
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgian Post has teamed up with the country’s largest sports chain as the move to online shopping accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic has been overloaded with parcels.
Postal operator bpost, like its peers around the world, is facing unprecedented parcel shipping as coronavirus restrictions have closed stores and restricted people to their homes.
The postal service has hired an additional 3,000 contract workers, increased deliveries to two per day in parts of the country and signed a contract with the sports chain Decathlon to allow Belgians to collect some of their parcels from their stores.
The Belgian postal service handled 78% more parcels in the second quarter of 2020 than a year earlier and last week hit a record of more than 600,000 parcels per day.
Most of the non-food shops in Belgium were closed for two months in the first wave of COVID-19 and for a month in the second wave, fueling the surge in online purchases. Shops only open again on Tuesday.
Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) said that independent companies selling on their platform had global sales of $ 4.8 billion from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, up 60% year over year.
Bpost continues to aim to deliver 95% of the packages, with only 5% to be picked up by Decathlon and other stores across the country.