One of Ireland’s leading parcel delivery operators is responding to continued online consumer demand with the opening of what it calls a “super-depot” at Cork’s Little Island.
Joe Corcoran owns the franchise on the new 30,000 facility — which brings together DPD Ireland’s three depots in Cork city and county, and involves an investment of €3m.
It is one of the company’s network of depots across the whole of the island and a big player in Europe.
DPD is part of GeoPost, which is owned by Le Groupe La Poste, and which is in turn majority-owned by the French government.
Mr Corcoran, who has worked for DPD Ireland for the past six years, said the new depot which currently employs 100 staff, plans to hire 30 more people over the next 10 weeks to meet demand.
Irish consumers are increasingly choosing to buy online, with 30% of e-shoppers making a purchase once a week or more frequently in 2018, according to a recent report by PwC Ireland.
With Irish consumers spending €5bn online annually, DPD Ireland posted a turnover of €91.5m last year, up 20% from 2017.
It projects that it will deliver 22 million parcels this year — with around half of the parcels going to online consumers and the other half for business-to-business customers.
Its recent survey of European consumers found that all European consumers bought fashion, shoes, beauty and health care products online, with Irish consumers favouring fashion, electronics, and books, in particular.
Significantly, it estimates 60% to 80% of purchases by Irish consumers are from websites outside Ireland, with UK retailers making up the bulk of transactions.
Its survey also found, not surprisingly, that the choice of delivery company is keyto the online shopping experience.
The DPD e-shopper report which was based on a poll of over 24,000 consumers, including 1,006 Irish consumers, found that over 70% of shoppers consider it’s important to know the delivery company at the point of purchase.
DPD Ireland, like other delivery firms, offers specialist services for pharmaceuticals and food deliveries and tracks where your parcel is at any particular time.
While current demand is mainly driven by online shopping, Mr Corcoran said small businesses are also using its services.
Where previously parcel delivery services would experience peak demand in the run-up to Christmas and other holiday periods, Mr Corcoran has seen an unusually busy summer.
The operator’s transit time for deliveries in the Republic are next-day, and for UK deliveries, including to the North, it takes two days.
“So if you order on a Monday, you’ll have it on Wednesday,” he said.
However, despite concerns about the impact of Brexit on businesses and consumers, Mr Corcoran remains optimistic about growth.
He doesn’t foresee significant disruptions to its service because of the DPD’s connections in mainland Europe where many UK retailers also have warehouses.
While he acknowledges that “everybody’s concerned about Brexit”, he believes that DPD can handle the challenges because of its parent's connections in France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
By way of example, he said that British-based retailers will seek alternative ways of getting goods to customers across Ireland in the event of a hard Brexit.
“If the UK is gone out of the EU, they’ll just do it through Amsterdam, Berlin or Paris,” he said.
Asked about the rise of same-day delivery services such as Amazon’s Prime, Mr Corcoran said it’s not an area of the market that DPD is chasing at the moment, and will instead continue to focus on businesses and on people buying online.
It has already said it will invest in switching its delivery fleet to electric vehicles.