9. July 2019 | Press release

A pioneering city logistics project: DPD Germany uses a swap body as a micro-depot in Konstanz

  • Micro-depot in a publicly accessible space enables efficient local parcel distribution

  • Parcel delivery in the city centre takes place by cargo bike with no local emissions

  • Micro-depot serves as a home base and charging station for cargo bikes

Konstanz, 09 July 2019 – DPD Germay is applying a new form of city logistics in the city of Konstanz at Lake Constance. In close cooperation with the local council the international parcel and express service provider has rented a parking area on the centrally located Döbele car park. Since April deliveries have been made from there to the city centre of Konstanz by cargo bike. A major innovation has now been added in the form of a container (a so-called 'swap body'), which serves as a local micro-depot. Such a micro-depot is a prerequisite for delivery by cargo bike since - unlike conventional vans – the bikes have to be stationed directly in the delivery area. The swap body in Konstanz is therefore not only an overnight storage location for the cargo bikes used locally, but also a transshipment point for parcels. These are delivered to the micro-depot in the morning and then transported to their consignees by electrically powered bikes.

This is the first project of its kind in which DPD Germany has converted a swap body in a public area into a micro-depot. The container positioned on the Döbele car park offers space for a large number of parcels and can also be supplied with fresh shipments two or three times a day. This enables the delivery personnel to perform several tours in succession. In the initial phase, only one tour per cargo bike is planned. In addition, the cargo bikes can be stored in the swap body after the deliveries have been made. At present the responsible depot in Villingen-Schwenningen is still working with exchangeable batteries, which are delivered to the micro-depot together with the parcels in the morning. As a next step the container will be equipped with a solar panel to charge the bikes directly on site. This will provide a self-sufficient power supply.

"Cargo bikes are ideal for delivery areas in which we supply a large number of private consignees."

Gerd Seber, Group Manager City Logistics & Sustainability at DPD Germany

The fact that the innovative project has been implemented in Konstanz in particular is mainly due to local conditions. The city centre has narrow streets that are difficult for conventional delivery vans to access. At the same time the parcel structure is highly suitable for delivery with electrically powered bikes. In this case the delivery tours feature many stops where only a single parcel is delivered. Since a cargo bike is much easier to park in inner city areas, making deliveries by this method is very efficient. "At the same time this system has a further positive effect for us. In Konstanz delivery vans are no longer permitted to enter the city centre after 10 a.m. Thanks to the cargo bikes, this restriction is no longer a problem for us.“

The implementation of the project was made possible not least thanks to the cooperation of the local authorities. "We're delighted that the city of Konstanz has supported us in this project," says Seber. At the same time he hopes that the project will also act as a model for other municipalities. "Centrally located swap bodies are an excellent way of setting up micro-depots that are as simple as they are economical. So far, however, cities have been very hesitant in making the necessary spaces available. We therefore appeal to the municipalities to follow the example of Konstanz and make alternative delivery models possible."

City logistics: this is how DPD Germany is re-thinking parcel delivery operations

Throughout Germany DPD Germany is testing a number of approaches to the challenge of making parcel delivery in cities more efficient and with lower emissions. In Hamburg, for example, the international parcel and express service provider is testing fully electric VW e-Crafter vans. Smaller models, including the TRIPL electric scooter, are also in use there. In addition DPD Germany is already using cargo bikes in various cities - for example in Nuremberg, Berlin and Heilbronn. Another promising flagship project is "KoMoDo" in Berlin. After a one-year test phase sponsored by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Germany's five biggest parcel service providers are going to continue their operations in a logistics area which they can jointly use as a micro-depot. Deliveries are then made from this base by cargo bike. Shipments are delivered to the DPD Germany micro-depot from the parcel distribution centre by a fully electric VW eCrafter, which means that deliveries in the area are completely free from emissions.


About DPD Germany

DPD Germany is part of DPDgroup, the second-largest international parcel delivery network in Europe. Throughout Germany DPD has 78 depots and 6,500 Pickup parcelshops. A workforce of 9,500 and 11,000 delivery drivers are in daily operation on behalf of the company’s customers. Every year the No. 2 on the German parcels market ships around 375 million parcels – providing carbon-neutral transport operations at no additional cost to the customer.

Through innovative technology, local knowledge and dedicated customer care, DPD provides the best possible experience for both shippers and shoppers. DPD’s industry-leading Predict service is setting a new standard for keeping customers closely in touch with their delivery, with real time tracking of their delivery, a one-hour delivery window and a range of options for redirecting parcels. In recognition of this innovation DPD Germany received several awards like the Digital Transformation Award or the UX Design Award.

As part of DPDgroup, DPD Germany has access to over 42,000 local Pickup points across Europe, and delivers to 230 countries worldwide. DPDgroup’s 75,000 delivery experts work together to deliver more than 5.2 million parcels each day. The sole shareholder in DPD is GeoPost, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Le Groupe La Poste. GeoPost posted sales of €7.3 billion in the year 2018.

Press Contact

Peter Rey

Manager Media & Digital Relations

Image 1: DPD Germany's new Konstanz micro-depot is located centrally on the Döbele car park. In future delivery personnel will be able to load their bikes with parcels two or three times a day and then distribute them throughout the city centre.

Image 2: Evolo Z2 cargo bikes are used to make deliveries. They are not only more efficient for delivery operations in city centres where there are many private consignees, but also ensure parcel deliveries free from emissions at the local level.

Images available at www.dpd.de/presse.