Australia Post has announced it will retrain up to 2000 motorbike posties to process and deliver parcels in vans in a bid to keep pace with surging parcel volumes during the shutdown.
The move follows an agreement from the Federal Government to temporarily relax delivery standards for letters to allow the postal service to focus on parcels.
While letter volumes have been volatile and many have halved during the shutdown, parcel volumes have almost doubled in the last four weeks, as more and more households shop online as they self-isolate.
Australia Post recently told Inside Retail that the current increase in parcel volumes was similar to volumes around Christmas, Black Friday and Boxing Day, but that it couldn’t simply put on more staff in facilities due to social distancing requirements.
This has led to widespread delivery delays, even as many retailers are now relying on e-commerce sales to keep them afloat.
While Adore Beauty and Cue recently told Inside Retail that customers have been understanding about the delays, the announcement from Australia Post is likely to be welcome news to retailers.
Christine Holgate, Australia Post Group’s CEO and MD, said on Tuesday that it was necessary to retrain motorbike posties to deliver parcels in vans since the majority of the 1.8 million parcels being sent each day are too large to be delivered by other means.
“This will enable Posties to carry more,” she said in a statement. “It will also enable parcels to be delivered every operational day across the country.”
Nathan Huppatz, co-founder of Costumes.com.au, who also runs shipping management platform, ReadyToShip, said the number of shipping labels being generated through his platform has risen considerably since the outbreak of COVID-19.
“ReadyToShip is seeing shipping volumes during the last week that are more than double this time last year, and the equivalent of Christmas volumes,” he told Inside Retail.
“Volume has been rising steadily over the past 4 weeks, and seems to still be climbing.”
Huppatz is among those who see the growth of e-commerce as one of the few silver linings to the “disastrous COVID-19 situation”, but he’s keeping a close eye on delivery times.
“My concern is that our postal networks aren’t keeping up, so it’s not the best experience for people,” he said.
“Hopefully, we can see some improvement in delivery times.”