Growth of e-commerce, one of our key focus areas, continued. In the spring, we started a EUR 10 million automation and building project at the Voutila logistics center in Vantaa. The most integral part of the project is a warehouse building that will be completed this year and feature robots that assist in the handling of online store orders. For us, the change means expanding our operations from the delivery of parcels to a complete service for e-commerce.
In cooperation with Balmuir, we are developing an e-commerce solution in which Finnish companies are offered a new way of selling and delivering their products directly to Russian consumers. Posti has designed the online store and will attend to the marketing of the test products, handling of orders, warehousing of products and the logistics, including customs clearance. E-commerce is growing in Russia at an annual rate of 20–30%.
E-commerce is growing strongly in Estonia, too. Itella’s SmartPOST network in Estonia consist of 83 parcel points. During the year, the number of items delivered to the terminals was 30% higher than in the previous year. In October, we introduced the new Express service targeted at online stores in Estonia. Customers who order products from an online store before noon receive them in a parcel point the same evening.
We agreed with Mitäsaisiolla.fi (MSO.fi), owned by Sanoma, on a completely new kind of e-commerce cooperation. The cooperation offers online retailers an opportunity to get MSO.fi’s far-reaching and well-functioning market platform and Posti’s logistics services as a single solution.
In August, we started extensive cooperation with the media company Hämeen Sanomat on logistics services for the Hämeen Sanomat online store. The Hämeen Sanomat online store is based on a so-called multi-vendor e-commerce model, involving more than 200 vendors. The purpose of the cooperation agreement is to boost online sales and create favorable conditions for international cooperation.