National parcel carrier, Australia Post, has announced it will retrain some 2,000 motorbike postal workers to process or deliver parcels in vans.
The announcement today follows Australia Post's request of the Federal Government to provide temporary regulatory relief to help the business cope with the movement of unprecedented parcel volumes across the country.
It comes as the business seeks to manage significant disruption from the lockdowns resultant from current COVID-19 restrictions.
Parcel volumes, according to Australia Post, have nearly doubled in the last four weeks, an increase of 80 per cent compared to last year, as more householders shop online as they self-isolate.
Significant reductions in air freight availability given the reductions of passenger plane movements and the prioritisation of transported medial supplies have also added to Australia Post’s current challenges.
Although Australia Post has secured additional 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 company said in a statement.
Australia Post Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Christine Holgate said 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.
“To action the changes announced today we will retrain up to 2,000 motorbike posties to process or deliver parcels in vans. 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," she said.
"It will also enable parcels to be delivered every operational day across the country,” said Holgate.
“We welcome the support of the Federal Government, including Minister Fletcher and Minister Cormann, to allow us to ensure our posties can work where their help is needed most. Our people want to serve our country at this difficult and challenging time.”
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.
Post Offices will continue to remain open, in-line with health and safety guidelines to protect Australia Post staff and customers.
“It is imperative we act fast to ensure parcels can be delivered promptly and we can support our country. We ask for communities to understand as we rollout these changes,” Holgate added.
Temporary changes to delivery standards issued by Federal Government will include removing Priority Mail letter product, adjusting existing service standards on other letters in which deliveries can be made by Australia Post in metropolitan areas every second day and extending the required delivery time for regular intrastate letters to five days after the day of posting.
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.
With one of the largest transport networks in the country, Australia Post, must lead with a safety first philosophy. To spread its public safety campaign ‘Stay Alert!’ signage has been added to its trucks, trailers and vans to help raise awareness of other road users given three posties are injured every day at work on Australian roads.