Australia Post exploiting online shoppers

Online retailers exasperated by Australia Post’s paralysing monopoly on postal services have fresh fuel for their ill will after the state owned giant released profit figures Wednesday.

The corporation’s profit soared 31 per cent in the last year to $332.3 million – and Australia Post cited the growth in parcels from online shopping as the major contributor.

Many Australian retailers trying to compete with overseas-based online rivals cite postage costs as one of the biggest impediments to etail profitability.

In June one told Inside Retail that postage rates in Australia, together with the unreliability of delivery service, were the biggest problems she faced in trying to grow her business.

“We can have the right stock at the right price in the right volume and we can promise to ship the same day as the customer orders. Then it is out of our hands. We have no choice but to rely on Australia Post and pay whatever they’re asking,” she said.

Australia Post conceded that parcel volumes relating on online shopping deliveries were making up for an ongoing fall in traditional mail volumes – suggesting it has no intention of reviewing postage rates while it can replace revenues by charging high rates for packages.

Revealing the results, Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour said online shopping would drive the business into the future as 70 per cent of the $1.36 billion in parcels revenue was generated by e-commerce.

“It is the powerhouse of our business,” he said.

Australian parcel rates are significantly higher than the costs incurred by offshore sites, especially based in the US, making it hard to affordably ship goods across Australia let alone overseas.

Traditional mail volumes are in decline worldwide as consumers shift to text messages and emails and businesses move invoicing and published products to digital format.

On a brighter note, Australia Post announced on Monday it would extend the hours of parcel pickup points and trial 24 hour lockers where people could collect packages after receiving notification by SMS or email with an unlock code. Amazon is testing a similar concept in London, using alternative courier companies.

You have 7 articles remaining. Unlock 15 free articles a month, it’s free.