- Title: Can Amazon deliver in its second biggest market?
- Date: 23rd October 2019
- Summary: DISPLAY ON SCANNER READING IN GERMAN "SCAN PACKAGES" DRIVER PUSHING PACKAGE INTO VAN ANOTHER DRIVER SCANNING BAR CODE VARIOUS OF MAP OF MANNHEIM SURROUNDING TOWNS ON SCANNER, INDICATING TIME IN MINUTES IT TAKES TO GET TO DESTINATION
- Embargoed: 6th November 2019 09:16
- Keywords: Amazon delivery driver employee contractor pay Syria labour
- Location: MANNHEIM, GERMANY
- City: MANNHEIM, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Company News Markets,Economic Events
- Reuters ID: LVA002B2BG9SD
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Every half an hour, 50 vans sweep into Amazon's distribution centre in Mannheim, Germany and sweep out again with up to 200 parcels and a precise delivery plan in each.
The tightly choreographed morning operation is designed to maximise speed and minimise costs, preconditions for the success of Amazon's rapid expansion in its biggest international market.
But contractors which hire delivery people say that finding drivers is increasingly difficult.
Salem Ahmad runs a small logistics company which recently won a contract to deliver parcels for Amazon in the city of Bochum. An Iraqi who has lived in Germany since 2001, he is struggling to find around 50 to 60 new drivers.
Many migrants with families calculate they will get more in benefits than the average 1,600 euros a month Ahmad can pay them, he said.
Raising salaries could help attract more drivers, Ahmad said.
Amazon sends almost a third of the 1.4 billion parcels delivered to private customers in Germany each year, according to Horst Manner-Romberg, head of logistics consultancy MDU. He estimates the parcel delivery sector overall is short of as many as 9,000 drivers.
In Munich, where Amazon launched its own delivery service for Germany in 2015, it has recently begun hiring drivers directly. An Amazon spokeswoman said there is a shortage of drivers in the city during the Christmas shopping peak.
Bernd Gschaider, Germany director for Amazon Logistics, which covers deliveries from distribution centres, said one of Amazon's agreements with suppliers require them to pay drivers based on working hours, not per package.
Several drivers currently or formerly employed by contractors working conditions were punishing.
Ihsan Hardan, a 35-year-old father of four from Syria who spent seven months delivering parcels for a subcontractor driving for Amazon until he quit in May, said his wish was for shorter working hours.
"Eight or nine hours with a break. That's all," Hardan told Reuters in September.
Working days were as long as 12 hours, some drivers said, because there was no way they could deliver so many parcels in a standard eight-hour shift. A few drivers said they had to turn up at the depot well before they started driving and return undelivered parcels.
Hardan declined to name the subcontractor which hired him.
Amazon says it designs routes to fit a regular shift and that contractors should bring in relief drivers if they find they cannot deliver within the time.
The other two major logistics companies in Germany which both deliver for Amazon - Deutsche Post DHL and Hermes - have both hiked prices for parcel deliveries in the last year - citing the need to pay more to attract drivers.
(Production: Andreas Buerger, Emma Thomasson, Michele Sani)
- Copyright Holder: FILE REUTERS (CAN SELL)
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