City Link, the premium express parcel carrier, is ready for the Christmas rush having spent six months drawing up contingency plans to ensure its network will run smoothly in the event of another ‘big freeze’.
With the peak season only weeks away, City Link is confident that it will be able to cope even if extreme winter weather sweeps in during the Christmas and New Year rush – as it did last year.
Blizzards and record-breaking cold temperatures last year wrought havoc on the UK’s roads, railways and at airports, bringing many carriers’ networks to a virtual standstill at their busiest time of year.
Backlogs of parcels built up in warehouses then took weeks to clear – with some Christmas presents finally reaching their destinations well into the New Year.
City Link is leading the industry with its detailed contingency plans that build on the inherent advantages of its caged network system that proved to be especially resilient during last year’s winter storms.
Duncan Faithfull, Sales & Marketing Director of City Link said: "Planning is the key. Although we cannot control the weather or the effect that the weather has on the roads, we have been working hard to produce effective plans that will ensure our customers will get a continuous service wherever physically possible.
"We all hope there will not be another big freeze like last winter – but if there is, City Link is prepared for action. We will have snow-clearing machinery in every depot and hub and a Central Command Team has been formed to cope with emergencies.
"Customers can be assured that parcels will not languish for weeks in warehouses – we have robust systems in place so that parcels will be delivered on a strictly "first in, first out" basis.
"And of course our new My City Link service will convey virtually real-time information about parcel status to our customers – a service which sets us apart from our competitors."
City Link has radically overhauled all of its contingency plans in the wake of last year’s winter storms, and has tested its plans extensively over the past few months and found them to be robust.
Preparations include monitoring long, medium and short-term weather forecasts and making arrangements to bring in extra vehicles and drivers for peak periods, such as Christmas, if necessary.
Should there be an emergency, the Central Command Team will spring into action and will have the power, if a backlog builds up at one depot, to re-direct parcels to the next nearest depot instead. They will also be able to redeploy colleagues if necessary.
The command team will be given updates on key data, so they can make well-informed decisions, and they will be responsible for pro-actively telling all customers about the status of the network via daily bulletins during a crisis.
This in turn should ensure that customer care teams are not swamped with enquiries from anxious or irate callers wanting to discover when their parcels are going to be delivered – as they will be kept up-to-date.
City Link has also taken the additional precaution of setting peak volume limits with all of its large customers, as well as promising its customers it will not take on any new clients from 1st November until the New Year.