Delivery firm DPD has announced 6,000 new UK jobs and a major infrastructure investment in response to the unprecedented boom in online shopping caused by COVID-19.
The firm, which delivers for many of the UK's leading retailers, will invest £200m this year to expand its next-day parcel capacity, including £100m on vehicles, £60m on 15 new regional depots (10 more than originally planned in 2020) and the remainder on technology.
The new jobs will include delivery and HGV drivers, warehouse staff, management positions and support staff, including mechanics. DPD is forecasting the growth to continue this year, despite shops reopening, as households continue to rely on online deliveries for a greater proportion of their shopping, including food and drink.The new infrastructure investments and recruitment will be in place before Black Friday as the firm prepares for what it predicts will be the busiest Cyber Weekend and Christmas period, in its history.
Dwain McDonald, DPD CEO, commented, "We are experiencing the biggest boom in online retailing in the UK's history and we are making this unprecedented investment in our infrastructure and people to ensure we can continue to meet the high levels of demand for our services.
"DPD has been one of the fastest growing major companies in the UK in the last 10 years, due to the growth in e-commerce. But what we have seen in recent months is potentially a much more significant shift in behaviour, and we believe elements of it will be permanent. As a company, we've been dealing with rapid growth and ongoing investment cycles for a long time, but this is a very significant moment.
"I do think the High Street will bounce back from where things are now, but we have to base our modelling on our conversations with retailers and their projections. It looks like there will remain a much greater reliance on e-commerce in the future - that's going to be our 'new normal'. This investment and expansion mean that we will continue to be right there for our retail customers, alongside them, with the capacity to cope with the demand they are seeing online.
"Since this began, we have been handling parcel volumes more akin to the festive seasonal peak than this time of year. For example, volumes over Easter were double last year. The business has performed incredibly well, with service standards at record high levels, as more people have been at home to receive parcels and the roads have been quieter. All this while the operation has had to start scaling-up and adapt to social distancing and contactless deliveries.
"I'm incredibly proud of what our team has delivered during this crisis, including our work with the NHS and food retailers, and I have no doubt that they will continue to provide our customers with a market leading service."