DPD has forged a partnership with The Post Office which sees it oust the Royal Mail Group as the only carrier used by the retailer.

The deal is part of a wider plan by The Post Office to open up its network of 11,500 branches to external carriers for the first time in its 360 year history. The partnership with DPD sees Royal Mail Group lose its status as the only carrier to have an agreement with the Post Office for parcel collections directly at its branches.

The click and collect service, which starts next week, will initially be available at around 250 post offices, before rolling-out to approximately 1,500 branches across the UK ahead of the peak Christmas period.

Customers making a purchase online will have the option to choose their local post office as the collection point for their parcels. DPD will deliver parcels directly to the post office and the postmaster will process customer collections at the counter.

The Post Office said the partnership aims to reduce the environmental impact of having vans making multiple stops to drop off parcels, whilst at the same time encouraging people to return to their local high street on foot.

Nick Read, chief executive at The Post Office, said: “Combining the biggest physical retail network with one of the Europe’s best-known logistical carriers provides greater customer convenience, footfall for postmasters and helps people back to the High Street as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

"I’m delighted that through our partnership with DPD, customers can select their local Post Office to collect their parcels and know that they are often open longer hours, staffed by a knowledgeable Postmaster and located moments from where they live.”

Elaine Kerr, DPD CEO, said: “This is a significant, long-term partnership between two brand leaders in the parcel industry and comes at a time when the convenience of online shopping and delivery is more valued than ever.

"It is great news for DPD parcel customers and for Post Office branches too. Our aim is always to get parcels delivered safely, on time and provide recipients with as much choice as possible. This partnership enables us to offer more options at the point of purchase, while the parcel is in-flight and on those occasions when we can’t leave a parcel safely.”

A recent review by DPD of last mile delivery and the impact of click and collect on the environment showed that there is a reduction of, on average, 63% of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the last mile delivery when using the DPD Pickup network.

Kerr added: “Our sustainability strategy is based on looking at every single aspect or our operation and challenging ourselves to make it more efficient by reducing emissions and miles, while improving the service for customers at the same time. Having the option to deliver to Post Offices helps us achieve that. DPD will provide all-electric delivery to 10 major towns and cities by the end of this year and 25 locations by 2025. With that and recipients having the option to walk to their local Post Office to collect a missed parcel, the vision of a carbon-free last mile is becoming a reality.”