Ecommerce retailers woke up this week to discover that parcel broker Despatch Bay ceased trading as of 10am Monday morning. Whilst the website is still operational, those will accounts are being greeted by the following message when they log in:
Unfortunately the company has ceased trading as of this morning and will therefore be unable to facilitate any future orders. All parcels processed last week are with the couriers and to be delivered. You will be contacted shortly by our appointed advisors. We are sincerely sorry for any inconvenience this may cause.– Despatch Bay
Despatch Bay, owned by The Salegroup, is one of many parcel brokers who offer the lure of cheaper parcel labels from top UK couriers. In addition, Despatch Bay offered bulk daily collections or the option for retailers to save a few more pennies and drop off shipments at a delivery depot or Post Office.
Currently we’re hearing from multiple sources that carriers are seeing muted demand for their services. This is usual in January, but delivery volumes are still less than would be expected at this time of year. It’s unlikely that Despatch Bay will be the only business in the shipping industry that doesn’t survive in 2024, and indeed some carriers may also face troubled times if their investment in infrastructure continues to be under-utilised for too long.
Menzies Parcels are another business that’s already gone in 2024, and while many ecommerce retailers won’t necessarily of heard of them, they undertook deliveries in the Scottish Highlands and Islands for other couriers such as DPD and Yodel.
There has always been sound advice for diversifying your shipping arrangements and having alternative despatch methods on tap ready to turn on if one carrier or other had performance issues. In 2024, it would appear that one step further is needed – if you rely on a parcel broker or integrator to run your shipping operations, make sure you have alternatives that you can turn to if yours is next to cease trading.