UK courier firms hire 52% more lorries and vans just for Black Friday

Royal Mail

UK courier fleets are having to scale up to hire over 50% more vehicles in order to cope with demand triggered by online deliveries in the run up to Christmas.

Staveley Head, the courier insurers, has looked at data from some of the UK’s biggest brands like Amazon, Argos, Royal Mail and Hermes to pick out trends from the Black Friday sales.

Black Friday fell on November 24 this year and Staveley Head predicts £7bn will be spent across the weekend or £1,736,111 a minute. This will result in approximately 225 million parcels in transit before the end of the year.

Around 82,000 lorries and vans are expected to be on UK roads delivering Black Friday parcels with November 26 being the busiest day for transport.

When breaking this down by brand, Yodel is expected to use an extra 7,000 vehicles for Black Friday on top of their normal 2,500, as it will be part of the courier team supporting Amazon and Argos with their parcels.

Hermes will be using an extra 3,000 vehicles on top of its normal 10,000 as it predicts to be delivering 750,000 parcels themselves on the Sunday following Black Friday.

During Amazon’s busiest 24-hour period, a lorry leaves one of its fulfilment centres every 1 minute 33 seconds.

To help cope with the sheer volume of orders, an extra 49,000 seasonal staff will be hired across Royal Mail, Argos and Amazon bringing the total staff numbers working for all brands to 263,701.

Amazon UK will be hiring the most additional staff (20,000) across all departments, on top of its 24,000 regular employers, to deal with Black Friday. The majority will be hired to work within the 11 fulfilment centres placed across the UK.

Argos have a staff count of 29,565 people in the UK but will be hiring an extra 10,000 for the Christmas period.

Royal Mail, on the other hand, has a massive 161,136 people working for them across the UK and will be hiring a similar amount of staff to Amazon (19,000) to deal with all the deliveries, as well as the expected huge amount of returns.  

Ashley Peters, Staveley Head managing director, said: “The amount of extra staff and vans hired to deal with the sheer volume of parcels is quite incredible, and can be a very expensive, logistical nightmare for so many companies.

“It is therefore no surprise that some brands decide to skip Black Friday and focus purely on Christmas during peak season.

“Our Black Friday logistics research aims to raise awareness of the behind the scenes effort that courier drivers, warehouse operatives, retail employees and postmen/woman go to, in order to deliver a smooth and efficient service each year.”

Brand Number of vehicles Additional vehicles for Black Friday Total on road
Royal Mail 47,000 6,800 53,800
Hermes 10,000 3,000 13,000
DPD 3,500 950 4450
Yodel 2,500 7,000 9500
UPS No info 1300 1300
    Total 82,050

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