Bikes and drones give faster delivery

By AFP, Madrid

Whether bikes or drones, delivery firms are looking for ways to get packages to customers quicker as electronic commerce is revolutionising the retail market.
Geopost, the parcel delivery unit of France's La Poste, is testing out drones and experimenting with neighbourhood mini-depots and bicycle delivery to help beat urban traffic gridlock.
Its subsidiary SEUR in Madrid is developing mini-facilities where packages are brought before being distributed to customers nearby-an alternative to the current system where delivery vans are loaded at bigger centres, often located outside the city.
Parcel delivery was the first to be liberalised in Europe, but it is the former monopoly postal services of France and Germany that have come out on top.
Geopost is second to leader Deutsche Post's DHL, which is also testing drones in rural areas. US giant FedEx, trying out robots as well as drones, has bought TNT from the Dutch postal service.
While email has eroded the volume of letters, e-commerce has led to a boom in parcel delivery.