IF YOU’VE recently ordered something online and it’s taken longer than expected to arrive, you’re not alone.
Postal services Australia-wide have been struggling to keep up with unprecedented volumes of parcels over the past month, as more and more householders shop online as they self-isolate.
The issue has been compounded by significantly reduced air freight availability due to reductions in domestic flights and the need to prioritise transport of medical supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australia Post last week announced that, with temporary regulatory relief from the federal government, its delivery and processing services would be restructured to cope with the demand. Changes include retraining up to 2000 motorbike posties to deliver large parcels in vans, reducing the frequency of letter deliveries to households in metropolitan areas to once every two days, and temporarily suspending the Express Post guarantee of next day delivery.
Korumburra Post Office manager Sam Patel confirmed the phenomenon was being felt locally, with a five to ten per cent increase in parcel deliveries in recent weeks, thanks to “a lot of online shopping”.
Things hadn’t quite gotten to the level of the October to January festive season – the post office’s busiest time of year – but it was unusual to see large volumes of parcels in March and April – normally some of the quietest months, Sam said.
He added that while foot traffic in store for parcel collections had increased, there were fewer people coming in to pay bills over the counter, with the assumption that people were paying online instead.
Local shoppers show preference for online
Among the local businesses sending out an increased number of parcels is Inverloch fashion and homewares boutique Mookah Studio, the owners of which have been visiting their local post office three to four times a day to keep up with online orders.
The sisters behind the business, Leisa and Nicole Griffiths, say they have observed an increase in online sales in the last few weeks, and have been visiting the post office more frequently as a result.
But they stress that the volume is “nowhere near” enough to compensate for the recent downturn in revenue at their bricks and mortar stores in Inverloch and Warragul, which are still operating, but with reduced opening hours and social distancing measures in place.
With customer feedback that online orders have been taking longer than usual to arrive, Leisa and Nicole advise anyone wanting to send a gift for Mother’s Day to order well in advance to avoid disappointment.
For all information about changes to service, up to date details on delays and impacts including post office closures, visit auspost.com.au.