Australia Post responds to parcel demand spike

To help manage the continued spike in parcel deliveries, Australia Post motorcycle posties are being retrained to deliver and process parcels.

The Australian federal government has agreed to temporary changes to delivery standards as the postal operator reconfigures to meet the change in demands thanks to the pandemic. These standards, as requested by Australia Post include:

– Removing the Priority Mail letter product. This is manually intensive for processing and delivery speed cannot currently be guaranteed.  Priority letters lodged by consumers each year is significantly less than one per cent of all letters and 12 per cent of total letter volumes;
– Adjusting the existing service standards on other letters, to enable Australia Post to deliver letters in metropolitan areas every second day. Australia Post will maintain existing delivery standards in rural and remote locations;
– Extending the required delivery time for regular intrastate letters to five days after the day of posting

In the last four weeks parcel volumes have almost doubled and are up 80% by comparison to the same period in 2019. This has been driven by a major switch to e-commerce on the part of Australians due to lockdown. Other products offered by the postal operator including letter mail have halved in volume.

To add to the sudden change in the postal ecosystem, there is reduced air freight capacity thanks to the fall in passenger aircraft flight numbers. Medical supplies are prioritised on the remaining flights. Australia Post has secured more capacity from Qantas airlines but this hasn’t matched demand capacity and delays in trans-continental parcel delivery are inevitable.

Another issue is that the majority of the 1.8 million parcels sent daily are too large to be delivered by traditional posties. Australia Post CEO Christine Holgate said, “To action the changes announced today we will retrain up to 2,000 motorbike posties to process or deliver parcels in vans. This will enable Posties to carry more and relieve some of the significant pressure on our parcel delivery drivers, who have been swamped with huge volumes. It will also enable parcels to be delivered every operational day across the country”.

“We welcome the support of the Federal Government, including Minister Fletcher and Minister Cormann, to allow us to ensure our posties can work where their help is needed most.  Our people want to serve our country at this difficult and challenging time.”

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