Australia Post parcel volumes have almost doubled in the last four weeks, up by 80 per cent compared to last year, as more and more householders shop online as they self-isolate.
Christine Holgate, Australia Post Group CEO and Managing Director said a challenge is the majority of the 1.8 million parcels being sent each day are too large to be delivered by a traditional postie as people purchase items to allow them to stay at home.
Australia Post will retrain 2,000 motorbike posties to deliver and process parcels to help manage the unprecedented parcel volumes being sent across the country as the business continues to manage significant disruption as Australians adapt to living differently under COVID-19 restrictions.
“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,” Christine said.
The deployment of posties follows the Federal Government’s announcement on April 21 to provide temporary changes to delivery standards to continue to service the broader needs of the community as quickly as possible.
Paul Fletcher, minister for communications said demand for e-commerce has skyrocketed as people stay home to combat the coronavirus health crisis.
“The changes we’ve announced today provide Australia Post greater flexibility to respond to the increased demand for parcels, which will help posties continue to deliver essential products and services to Australians, including pharmaceutical and grocery products,” Paul said.
Adding to Australia Post’s challenges is the impact of significantly reduced air freight availability due to the reductions of passenger planes and the need to prioritise transport of medical supplies.
“Although Australia Post has secured more capacity from Qantas, and have welcomed recent announcements from the Federal Government to support more domestic flights, these cannot ensure the speed of deliveries at the same level as prior to the crisis,” the group said in an announcement.
The group said the temporary regulatory relief requested by Australia Post and agreed by the Government includes removing the Priority Mail letter product.
“This is manually intensive for processing and delivery speed cannot currently be guaranteed,” the group said.
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.
Other temporary measures includes 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.
The group will also extend the required delivery time for regular intrastate letters to five days after the day of posting.
Delivery frequency in regional, rural and remote Australia will not change in recognition that Australia Post is often the only operator in these areas, however households in metro areas will soon start to receive a letter delivery every second day.
“It is imperative we act fast to ensure parcels can be delivered promptly and we can support our country,” Christine said.