40 million parcels for Christmas

For the first time ever, Australia Post delivered more than 40 million parcels during December, making it the biggest-ever month for parcel volumes for  the organisation.
The growing popularity of online shopping and online sales events, as well as strong Christmas Eve and Boxing Day sales, contributed to an 11.7 percent increase from the previous December.
Australia Post chief operating officer Bob Black said it was all hands on deck over the Christmas period with more than 3,000 extra staff employed across the network to handle the huge volumes.
“We made more than 40 million parcel deliveries in December, and our hardworking posties delivered more than 40 per cent of these, as well as more than 210 million letters,” Mr Black said.
“Our busiest day was Monday 17 December, when we delivered a record three million parcels across the country – by far the biggest day in our history.
“What we didn’t expect was to have a lot of shoppers race to the finish line to post their festive parcels, with our people delivering a whopping 2.7 million items on Christmas Eve – our next busiest day of the month and equal second busiest day in history.”
Mr Black said Australians were embracing online shopping like never before, with Australia Post revealing last year that online purchases had grown by almost 20 per cent in 12 months.
“Our research found that people were buying up to 19.2 per cent more items online. By 2020, we expect one in 10 items will be bought online.
“Online shopping is building momentum as a channel of choice, where customers can make the most of online deals and choose customisable delivery options with Australia Post. This means online shoppers can buy the brands they love no matter where they live,” said Mr Black.

Bumper Christmas on the way

Roy Morgan’s annual Christmas retail sales forecasts conducted in conjunction with the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) indicate Australians will spend nearly $51.5 billion across retail stores during the Christmas trading period from November 9-December 24 (46 days).
Forecast retail spending this Christmas of almost $51.5 billion is an increase of 2.9% from the $50 billion of retail expenditure during the 2017 Christmas trading period.
Growth in retail expenditure is predicted across all six categories measured, with spending on Food expected to grow the fastest by 3.7% from a year ago to nearly $21 billion. Also expected to enjoy strong growth are Hospitality businesses by 3.2% to over $7.3 billion.
Apparel and Household Goods will also record a significant increase in trade, with Roy Morgan and the ARA predicting $4 billion to be spent on Apparel including clothing, footwear & accessories, a 3.1% increase from 2017, while over $8.9 billion is forecast to be spent on Household Goods, a 2% increase from a year ago.
The slowest growing category is predicted to be Department stores for which spending is forecast to increase by 0.3% to $2.943 billion.
Predicted Retail Spending Growth by Category (2017 cf. 2018):

Category2017 pre-Xmas Actual Results ($mil)Roy Morgan 2018 forecast pre-Xmas sales ($mil)Roy Morgan predicted sales growth
Household goods8,7578,9312.0%
Apparel – clothing & footwear etc.3,9064,0283.1%
Department stores2,9352,9430.3%
Other retailing7,1277,3212.7%

Retail sales forecast to grow most strongly in NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania
Analysis of Roy Morgan’s pre-Christmas retail forecasts by state shows bumper growth is expected in four States led by Victoria up by 5.2% to over $13.5 billion.
Christmas retail spending in Australia’s largest State of New South Wales is expected to increase by 3.1% to over $16.6 billion and increases of over 3% in retail sales are also predicted for South Australia and Tasmania. Tasmania is forecast to record Christmas retail sales of over $1 billion for the first time.
Forecast Christmas retail spending in Queensland is predicted to increase by 1.7% to over $10 billion for the first time while there are also increases predicted for both the ACT and NT.
Predicted retail spending growth by state (2017 cf. 2018):

State or Territory2017 pre-Xmas Actual Results ($mil)Roy Morgan 2018 forecast pre-Xmas sales ($mil)Roy Morgan predicted sales growth

Chief executive officer of Roy Morgan Michele Levine said: “Despite concerns that a softening housing market may adversely impact retail spending in the important Christmas retailing season, the research conducted by Roy Morgan in conjunction with the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) shows that Australians are shrugging off these concerns with retail spending in the Christmas sales period expected to rise by 2.9% in 2018 to nearly $51.5 billion.”
“This is a faster rate of retail spending growth than achieved a year ago in 2017 when spending in the Christmas retail period grew by 2.7% to exceed $50 billion for the first time.
“Strong growth in Christmas retail spending is forecast across the six retail categories headlined by growth of 3.7% in Food retailing to nearly $21 billion, up by 3.2% for Hospitality businesses to over $7.3 billion and by 3.1% to over $4 billion for Apparel including clothing, footwear and personal accessories.
“Forecast Christmas retail spending across Australia’s eight states and territories is led by growth of 5.2% in Victoria to over $13.5 billion and New South Wales by 3.1% to over $16.6 billion. Christmas retail spending in Queensland is forecast to exceed $10 billion for the first time and there is also strong growth forecast in Tasmania and South Australia.
ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said: “With consumer spending on the rise as noted in September’s retail trade figures, the ARA and Roy Morgan are confident that this year’s Christmas sales will remain strong during the festive season, with a 3.67% total year-on-year growth across the retail sector.
“An estimated $21 billion is expected to be spent on Food this Christmas, which is a 3.7% increase from the previous year and coincides with the consistent figures recorded from this category throughout 2018.
“As the online retail market continues to expand, the ARA is also predicting online gift purchases to increase by 2.7% with Australian shoppers expected to purchase many of their gifts online this year.”

Aust Post prepares for record Christmas with 3,000 extras

Australia Post is gearing up for its biggest Christmas ever, aiming to recruit a record number of additional workers – expected to be close to 3,000 – for peak season operations and launching weekend deliveries in metropolitan areas from this Saturday.
With total online purchases topping over $21 billion for the first time ever this year, Australia Post says the online shopping boom is continuing with unprecedented peak period and Christmas parcel volumes – with on average one million parcels to be delivered every day.
Australia Post Group chief operating officer Bob Black said it will be all hands on deck to make this Christmas a success.
“This recruitment drive is the biggest of its kind in our history and we’re on track to hire 2,000 Christmas casuals before December. This will put us in a good position for a record-breaking Christmas ahead,” Mr Black said.
“We are also recruiting 800 new fixed-term roles including truck and van drivers, and additional people to serve customers in our Post Offices and contact centres.”
Last year Australia Post delivered 37 million parcels in December and Mr Black said parcel processing facilities have been upgraded across the country in preparation for the Christmas rush.
“We are investing $300 million into new parcel processing technology and machinery across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, enabling us to process an additional 35,000 parcels and Express Post items an hour.
“We want to give our customers more delivery choices, on all their online purchases ahead of Christmas. From this Saturday we will start delivering on weekends in metro areas, right up to Christmas, and Post Offices will soon begin extended trading.
“Improvements in parcel tracking and our suite of delivery choices, including parcel redirections and our free 24/7 parcel lockers provide customers convenience around the clock.
“Our people work really hard all year round, and take special pride in being able to offer our customers flexibility and peace of mind knowing all their Christmas purchases will arrive safely and on-time.”
The jobs are being advertised here.

AusPost breaks delivery volume records

Australia Post has revealed that it completed more than 37 million parcel deliveries during December 2017, the busiest month in the organisation’s 209-year history.
According to Bob Black, Chief Operations Officer and Executive General Manager – eCommerce Delivery at Australia Post, more than 2,000 extra staff helped the postal service handle the record volumes.
“We made more than 37 million parcel deliveries in the four weeks leading up to Christmas, that’s almost 20 per cent more deliveries per day compared to last year making 2017 our biggest festive season ever,” said Black.
“On average our drivers and posties made more than five deliveries per household across Australia, making it a huge team effort.”
In the final week before Christmas, Australia Post delivered more than 11 million parcels, and more than 100 million greeting cards and letters. Several days in the week before Christmas recorded increases of more than 30 per cent across Premium and Express services.
Black said Australians also embraced Australia Post’s range of delivery options, including weekend deliveries and extended trading hours, as well as parcel redirections, parcel pick-up directly from Australia Post facilities, and ‘safe drop’, whereby residents can nominate a safe place for parcels to be left at their property when they are not at home.
The unprecedented parcels volumes started in November, after the Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Click Frenzy sales, and continued into the New Year.
“Retailers now offer great deals online during the Boxing Day and new year sales, which have always been popular with Australians,” said Black. “It’s very much all hands on deck still, we’re still seeing record volumes through our network due to some amazing sales.
Overall, online shopping purchases in Australia grew 15 per cent in 2017 compared with 2016, Australia Post shared.

DHL predicts bumper Christmas delivery volumes

Logistics company DHL has predicted that delivery volumes in Australia over the 2017 Christmas season will be up 20 per cent from the 2016 season, with peak volumes of overseas parcels expected on 18 December, as a final wave of last minute international orders are placed over the preceding weekend.
“Consumers are gradually turning to overseas online retailers for their Christmas purchases,” said Gary Edstein, CEO and Senior Vice President, DHL Express Oceania. “Online shopping enables them to buy products from around the world that may not be available in domestic brick and mortar stores. And with online retailers now offering a wide range of convenient delivery options to consumers, it’s now easier than ever to fill the Christmas stocking.
“At DHL Express, we are experiencing the direct effect of the move to online shopping, and in response to this, we have put in place a peak Christmas season strategy to cater to this tremendous volume growth.”
DHL’s couriers will be working extended delivery hours six days a week on the run-up to Christmas, adding additional weekend and evening delivery routes and more than 300 additional drivers working in the lead-up to Christmas Eve.
“The teams are the very heart of our delivery operations; our courier drivers, our warehouse staff and the pilots flying our planes all work tirelessly to ensure every parcel is delivered within our transit time targets,” said Edstein. “It is incredibly positive to witness such strong industry growth year-on-year.”

Merry Christmas and a bigger, better T&L New Year!

Merry Christmas and a bigger, better T&L New Year!
It is time to say thank you for your support and interest throughout 2017 for all the news that the transport and logistics (T&L) had to offer.
The team at Transport and Logistics News wishes every one of our advertisers, subscribers and readers a safe, relaxing and joyful Christmas and New Year holiday season. This is our last newsletter for 2017.
We will be back in the New Year with a bigger, better newsletter and website – twice the news, twice the information, and featured magazine content every week. That’s right, you will be receiving two newsletters each week in 2018!
So look out for your T&L newsletter in your inbox from the second week of January, and until then, take care and enjoy the holidays!
Charles Pauka

Christmas at risk from port congestion

Road and rail transport operators have warned the Sydney Ports Corporation that many will go out of business and Christmas goods destined for Sydney stores will not get delivered in time, unless immediate productivity increases are made by the two stevedores.

The Sydney Port Corporation held an information session yesterday to update industry on the proposed landside productivity improvements. While the presentations gave a high-level overview of planned action to improve access and productivity in the medium to long term, there was no immediate relief for long-suffering transport operators.

Horror stories told by representatives of container cartage operators told of trucks taking up to five hours to pick up import containers, with the stevedores lacking information and relying on truck drivers to give them the missing details.

Others told of instances where the stevedores closed their gates at 2 pm sharp on Saturdays, notwithstanding trucks with valid slots still waiting outside. “We had booked the slots on the VBS as required,” one operator told T&Lnews. “their equipment breaks down or they have a staff shortage and are slow to load the containers, but they make us bear the cost of it – they go home and to hell with the trucks still waiting!”

Many operators expressed the concern that the reduced productivity is causing them to lose money and be forced out of business, and that containers arriving during the current Christmas rush will not be delivered to stores in time.

Some rail operators are equally affected. A company spokesperson who did not wish to be named, said his trains take, on average, 10 hours for the return trip from suburban Sydney to Botany. “The best we ever had was eight hours, but often it takes a whole day,” he said. “We have to change crews on the track because they run out of working hours.

“It takes 15 minutes to shunt in and another 15 to shunt out of the stevedores’ sidings. We only have a one-hour window, but they take the shunting time off that. They go to lunch early, and return late, but they take that off, too, from our time. When the time’s up, we have to leave – every single day we are forced to leave containers behind.”

He said the stevedores’ productivity is less than half of what they achieve every day in their own yard.

The Sydney Ports Corporation representative attempted to reassure operators that new KPIs and penalties will be incorporated into the stevedores’ leases, however, this will not have an effect for many months. The peak period surcharge mooted by ports minister Joe Tripodi will not be in place until at least the end of the current financial year.

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