“Black Friday” and “Cyber Week” brought a first flood of parcels with record volumes for Swiss Post. During this period, Swiss Post handled around one third more shipments than it normally would in its three parcel centers. But what happens to a parcel after a customer drops it off at the Swiss Post counter? Barbara Schluchter-Donski from the newspaper “Thuner Tagblatt” wanted to find out more, so she sent a Christmas parcel on a journey through the yellow world from Thun to Mürren. Curious children were waiting for the red parcel at its destination, a village at 1,650 metres above sea level in the Bernese Oberland.
Barbara Schluchter-Donski wanted to surprise a primary school class in Mürren with a Christmas parcel containing books, sweets and toys.
Barbara Schluchter-Donski hands over the beautifully wrapped parcel to a Swiss Post employee at the counter in the main branch in Thun. It is then loaded onto a delivery van along with other parcels – a task performed manually by Swiss Post employees. After about an hour, our Christmas parcel arrives at the Thun-Rosenau distribution base, where the parcels are sorted as fast as possible and loaded onto a truck together with letters and other consignments. Once loaded, our parcel continues its journey towards Härkingen parcel center. Around two hours later, our Christmas parcel joins the handling process in Härkingen.
Our striking parcel is one of many to travel the belt conveyor at Härkingen parcel center on that day. On a peak day during the pre-Christmas period, Swiss Post processes 1.3 million parcels in its parcel centers in Daillens, Härkingen and Frauenfeld. Last year, the parcel volume during the days before Christmas was around 30% larger than that of an average day. In 2018, Swiss Post expects an even greater increase.
A belt conveyor takes the Christmas parcel straight from the container to the sorting system. To be precise, the container is known as a “swap body” in Swiss Post jargon and the belt conveyor as a “telescopic belt conveyor”.
This is where the address is read and the parcel is weighed and photographed. It then enters the parcel center’s long conveyor system, which knows exactly where the parcel has to go. Once our Christmas parcel has arrived at the correct parcel slide, the belt conveyor tilts automatically, and the parcel slides into the correct container for the target destination: the mountain village of Mürren.
A truck carries the Christmas parcel from Härkingen parcel center to the delivery point in Mürren. It is then transferred to a famous and historic means of transport: the Schilthorn Cableway.
A Schilthorn Cableway employee loads the Christmas parcel into the cable car. Once it has arrived in Mürren, Swiss Post employee Hans von Allmen carries our Christmas parcel to the local school and delivers a big surprise.
Mürren is a car-free municipality. For that reason, Swiss Post employee Hans von Allmen has been delivering mail to his customers using an electric vehicle for 10 years now. The vehicle weighs 600 kg and can be loaded with an additional 100 kg to make sure that customers receive their mail quickly and safely. Hans von Allmen says that the weight of the electric vehicle and its wide tyres even make it suitable for use in winter, when the roads in Mürren are covered in snow.
Hans von Allmen hands over our Christmas parcel to Sophia Gertsch, primary school teacher in Mürren. The children are overjoyed to receive their surprise!