Package deal: Postal lockers come to Hong Kong as PCCW launches e-commerce's 'last mile'

Automated lockers store goods ordered online for collection at 23 residential and commercial locations in first phase of roll-out; each machine fitted with 3 CCTV cameras

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 November, 2015, 7:54pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 November, 2015, 11:59pm

PCCW, the flagship conglomerate of media and telecommunications mogul Richard Li Tzar-kai, has launched a network of automated locker machines to store parcels across Hong Kong as part of its “last-mile” logistics support for e-commerce merchants.

The new service, marketed under the brand House of Parcels (or “HOP!”), enables consumers to pick up their orders made online from a number of locker stations around the clock.

“We see our HOP! digital logistics platform transforming the traditional logistics industry model and allowing e-commerce companies to run their online-to-offline business with peace of mind,” Sinko Choy, a senior vice-president at PCCW Solutions, said on Tuesday.

Choy said the machines will initially be available in 23 residential and commercial locations, including properties managed by Hong Kong-listed Link REIT and Savills Guardian.

According to PCCW Solutions, each HOP! machine measures 2.4 metres high, 3.5m wide and 70 centimetres deep and is equipped with three closed-circuit television cameras. Each platform has 54 lockers, configured into 12 small, 36 medium and six large-sized compartments.

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There are currently nine Hong Kong-based e-commerce companies which provide HOP! as a delivery option to their online customers.

These include group-buying service Beecrazy, infants’ products retailer Baby Kingdom, e-commerce platform Shopline and StrawberryNet, a provider of discounted perfumes, skin care and make-up products.

“We expect to be more aggressive next year in terms of HOP! locations,” said Choy.

He hinted that target deployments would be more than double what the company now operates, which would help e-commerce merchants reach more customers in the city.

PCCW Solutions has long been known as the information-technology services and business process outsourcing arm of PCCW group, but it has also been operating a large logistics business in the city.

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“If you ordered a smartphone from CSL and wanted it delivered to your home, it is PCCW Solutions’ logistics operation that brings that phone straight to your doorstep,” Choy said.

Logistics support for e-commerce companies has become a major business for courier companies in Hong Kong, where Choy said “about 120,000 e-commerce parcels each day were handled last year”.

In March last year, Hong Kong-based CX Courier formed a partnership with European firm Integer.pl Group to roll out a network of automated parcel lockers across the city. They estimated the size of the overall Hong Kong delivery market at 4.5 million parcels a month.