German postal service tests "bring buddies" scheme

Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:10pm EDT
 
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BERLIN, 0ct (Reuters Life!) - Germany's postal service has announced plans to explore improved service and help protect the environment by getting "bring buddies" -- ordinary people traveling across cities -- to deliver parcels on their way.

It is hoped the initiative that will be tested in the months ahead might lessen traffic in inner cities and reduce C02 emissions. This should help DHL, a division of the German postal service, reach its target of improving the company's carbon efficiency by 30 percent before 2020.

"As the world's biggest logistics provider, we recognize a special responsibility to use our core competencies to minimize the impact on the environment," said Frank Appel, Chief Executive Officer of Deutsche Post DHL, in a statement referring to a variety of measures being considered.

The amateurs find out online about parcels which need delivering to people who live or work along the route they are planning to travel through the city and then select the ones they want to take.

Retrieval codes sent to their mobile phones tell the bring buddies where to pick the packages up. Parcels can be taken part of the way or passed on to another buddy but all buddies need to have the right code on their mobile phone so the track and trace system can be updated.

Logistics companies will be responsible for overseeing the operation and supervising transactions to ensure that the privacy of post is not violated.

Initiators say this could be done using mobile phones but recognize that some security and liability issues remain to be resolved, DHL said.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; Editing by Steve Addison)

 
<p>An employee of German postal service Deutsche Post AG leaves a distribution office in Berlin January 16, 2008. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz</p>