Stories from ‘Planzer Parcel’

Parcel delivery on four hooves in Zermatt


Barns, storehouses, shops, cafés, bars, hotel lounges and the Matterhorn are all indispensable parts of the evocative mountain atmosphere of Zermatt. As is, of course, our carriage horse Benny.

From mountain village to global village

Zermatt has plenty of history and a whole lot of stories. One such story is the creation of the car-free Bahnhofstrasse. On some days, the 5,430 residents of this enchanting Valais village rub shoulders with up to 30,000 tourists, with 500 electric vehicles on the road. The clear mountain air can easily grow thick even without exhaust fumes, and the narrow streets of this Valais hotspot can get pretty congested. So the authorities decided to ban all motorised traffic for deliveries on Bahnhofstrasse between midday and 7:00 pm – including for residents.

This makes the process of delivering parcels to the numerous shops, boutiques, restaurants and souvenir shops a challenge. Time to get inventive.

It started as a joke

Talking to Nils Planzer one day, Zermatt Council chairwoman Romy Biner-Hauser joked: ‘Why don’t you just deliver parcels with a horse and carriage?’ After all, horses are exempt from the traffic ban on Bahnhofstrasse. Now, if you’re at all familiar with the innovative spirit of our logistics company, you will know that bringing crazy ideas to life really fires up our ambition. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Planzer and its Valais subsidiary Alpin Cargo created the first and as yet only vacancy in the family-owned company for a well-shod four-legged colleague. By Christmas 2019, carriage horse Benny was already delivering his first parcels of up to 30 kg to Bahnhofstrasse.

Draught horse delivery

This Polish stallion is literally the driving force behind Alpin Cargo, delivering parcels to Zermatt on behalf of ‘Planzer Parcel’. Weighing a majestic 800 kg and with the composure typical of his breed, Benny is virtually made for the job. He truly embodies the power you need for a top-quality, sustainable parcel delivery service high up in the Swiss Alps. From Monday to Wednesday, carriage driver Tereza leads Benny and his parcel carriage through the busy shopping precinct of Zermatt – with what seems like a thousand pictures taken along the way.

A steed with a double life

Like so many other Alpin Cargo and Planzer employees, Benny is multitalented. Rather than taking the second half of the week off, he takes weekend visitors and Zermatt fans on tours. He is harnessed to an elegant Victoria carriage, named after Queen Victoria of England (1819-1901). It offers up to six seats, two of which can be covered on request, and was once used on festive occasions. The curved mudguards positioned over the wheels at the sides protected guests’ luxurious clothes from splashes. The carriage weighs 500 kilograms – no problem for a draught horse like Benny.

More than just movie material

You can watch Benny’s daily routine with his carriage and find out how he spends his spare time in a series of cheeky short films. In season 1, we learn how Benny keeps everything on the trot. The camera follows him as he goes on his rounds, with tourists and parcels in tow. The series also shows how Bernese Oberland company Trauffer produces models of Benny in wood, which you can order from the online store. Series two is a romantic, funny and slightly sad love story, featuring Lina the mule. Benny falls in love with the longest pair of ears in the world, and learns something about goods transport with beasts of burden in the Valais region, the whinnying of mules, sheep, sheepdogs and himself. Interesting fact: Lina is voiced by Valais-born musician and songwriter Stefanie Heinzmann.

Der Benny – Episode 1

Hitched to the wagon of sustainability

Benny is not just a tourist highlight or the nostalgic finishing touch to a High Alpine landscape. He is also a genuine alternative for CO2-neutral parcel delivery in car-free towns and therefore a figurehead for sustainable urban parcel logistics. Because we are convinced that making city logistics fit for the future means always putting your best hoof forward.

By the way

Starting with the 2021/2022 winter season, the carriage can also be booked for private events, from a leisurely ride that ends with a fondue to the most beautiful wedding pictures of your life, or a night-time excursion by the light of the full moon, under a canopy of stars. Recently Benny has benefited from the assistance of his new working buddy Charles for these events. For more info on booking the carriage, please go to www.derbenny.ch.

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