DHL lorry

E-commerce and the growth of multichannel retail has created a sharp spike in Christmas delivery volumes this year, say logistics giants.

Logistics operator Norbert Dentressangle said to keep up with demand it had recruited an “unprecedented” number of additional staff this quarter to help deliver a successful Christmas peak for its retail customers.

The company has hired an additional 6,500 seasonal staff - an uplift of more than 50% on its core workforce of 12,800 - and said the “strong organic growth” it has seen over the past year would mean some of the roles had the potential to become permanent.

DHL has also reported a surge in demand in the run-up to Christmas.Volumes were already up 5% on last year’s figures, driven by a surge in e-commerce orders, it said. Over five million online orders had been placed so far this month, with some distribution centres despatching more than five million products each week in the run-up to Christmas, it added.

“Our supply chain figures reflect what is gearing up to be a bountiful Christmas,” said managing director for retail at DHL John Boulter.

“With consumers stocking up, the grocery sector is gearing up for a very merry Christmas.”

DHL said it would deliver 1.5 million Christmas puddings and almost two million party food packs to Iceland over the period, as well as 800,000 loaves of bread to Nisa as consumers look to top up locally over the holiday period.

“DHL has already delivered around two million frozen turkeys, meat joints and salmon, but demand is still yet to peak for many items as consumers look to buy fresh products ahead of the big day,” added Boulter. “Keeping shelves stocked is our priority, and we’re working around the clock to ensure demand is met.”