Australia Post has repurposed and opened 15 new processing facilities and commenced recruitment for 600 casuals into the network and call centre to assist in managing the continued parcel delivery demand in the country.
Parcel deliveries around the country have continued to average almost two million parcels per day since just before Easter.
These volumes have almost doubled in the last four weeks, up by 90 per cent compared to last year, as more householders shop online as they self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, demand for other core products, including letters, have been volatile and many have halved.
Australia Post Acting Group Chief Operating Officer, Rod Barnes, said everyone was working hard to manage significant delays impacting delivery of parcels.
“With our business adapting to the challenges the current pandemic presents, our normal practice of delivery has been impacted.
"We are experiencing significant delivery delays due to limited flights, hygiene and social distancing requirements in our network to preserve the community’s safety, and an increase in parcel volumes as more people shop online.
“For the last four weeks, we have been operating our processing and delivery services seven days a week, with our dedicated staff working on rotation over the 24-hour period, each day.
“The repurpose and opening of 15 new facilities around the country, and the employment of more than 600 casuals, will assist in the network being able to sustain the current parcel delivery demands and reduce delays," he said.
Additional staffing, according to Barnes, has allowed the business to accept and process an unprecedented three million parcels into facilities from e-commerce customers.
“To assist in getting these parcels to customers’ doors, we have refocussed 700 of our people, a mix of posties and drivers from our StarTrack business, to provide additional van deliveries across the country," said Barnes.
“We have chartered an additional eight freighter flights, increasing this to 17 dedicated air freighter flights per day. These flights provide some relief and have improved our Express Post priority service deliveries across major capital cities by the next business day. Unfortunately, they do not substitute reduced access to capacity on passenger planes, and we cannot ensure the speed of deliveries at the same level as prior to the pandemic.
“We appreciate that delays can be frustrating and want to reassure that our people are working hard to get customer’s parcels to them safely and as quickly as possible.
“Our people continue to work tirelessly under difficult circumstances, so we’re asking everyone to be kind and treat our dedicated people with the courtesy and respect they deserve – whether it be in a call centre, Post Office or dropping your delivery off. Aggressive and abusive behaviour towards our people will not be tolerated," he said.
Underlining its commitment to processing parcel volumes, Australia Post received regulatory relief from the Federal Government last week.
As letter volumes continue to fall, it announced a change in the frequency of metropolitan letter deliveries to every second day – which will free up posties to be retrained and redeployed into delivery vans to help process parcels.
"This retraining of 2,000 posties is part of a broader Australia Post response to manage significant disruption brought about by different lifestyles under COVID-19 restrictions," said Barnes.
“We’re progressively making these changes and continue to look at ways to optimise our delivery network to meet the current demand of parcel volumes. The majority of parcels are still arriving on time, but we ask and thank our customers for their patience, as we work as hard as we can to get parcels to you as quickly as possible," he said.