Package Lockers DHL Makes Amazon Blackout

Is yellow a trademark? Amazon's package pick-up lockers in Berlin and Munich have changed their color. Apparently, Deutsche Post pushed the U.S. retail giant towards the re-dye.
This is what an Amazon Locker used to look like in Munich.

Only six months after being set up, Amazon's package experimental pick-up stations have turned gray. The 10 self-service delivery locations where customers can pick up and return Amazon packages in Berlin and Munich, a test project that could soon be expanded across Germany, have been completely covered with gray foil. But their original color can clearly be seen on the already worn edges: "Deutsche Post Yellow".

Speaking with Handelsblatt, the online retail giant confirmed it made the change to differentiate from Germany's largest postal service company: "The recoloring was done in agreement with partner DHL," a spokesperson said. Deutsche Post, which owns logistics company DHL, explains that Amazon was made aware of the trademark-protected color and that it was unnecessary to file a formal complaint.

Gray might not be as bright as yellow, but the decision came easy. Amazon's lockers are also gray in other countries such as France, an Amazon spokesman said. In New York, San Francisco, Chicago or London, however, they are still yellow.

The package lockers are one of Amazon's ways of trying to enter the German delivery market next to DHL or low-cost German competitors such as Hermes or DPD. In October 2015, the Americans started testing their own parcel delivery service in Munich, enlisting six sub-contractors with 240 vans. Since then, post office staff have reported a 25- to 30-percent decline in the volume of packages transported by Deutsche Post’s DHL express service.

Jürgen Gerdes, the head of parcel delivery for Germany’s Deutsche Post, has played down Amazon's venture, recently stating: "If we were afraid of Amazon, we would have done something wrong."

But the fact that Mr. Gerdes has now forbidden Amazon to use its yellow color for their package stations might be suggesting otherwise.

Handelsblatt’s Christoph Schlautmann covers the retail sector. To contact the author:  [email protected]