The Australia Post is struggling to work through a record amount of packages after hundreds of employees were forced into isolation as online shopping boomed during the Victorian lockdown.
The postal giant announced on Saturday that it would take drastic steps to meet the “huge demand” and deal with delays due to “challenges” created by the state’s Covid crisis.
Facilities in Melbourne process one million packages every day – enough to fill the MCG seats ten times – as the company struggles with staff shortages, border closures, reduced flights and compliance with Covid-safe restrictions.
How AusPost will catch up
Postmen and delivery drivers have been given the ambitious task of delivering as many as 350,000 packages across Victoria every weekend for the rest of the year in an attempt to catch up.
Six additional pop-up sites have been set up in Dandenong, Somerton, Tottenham, Thomastown and two in Derrimut and 1,000 additional team members are being recruited to help work with the huge number of packages previously only seen at Christmas.
The number of weekly cargo flights to Victoria has also been doubled to 60 to help transport more than 340 tonnes of parcels per week, and a further 32 tonnes arrive via additional weekly Express Post trucks.
“We have not stopped delivering and have broken delivery records throughout the pandemic, although we have faced challenges such as having a large number of our Melbourne people isolated,” said Australia Post General Manager Corporate Affairs Michelle Skehan.
“We recognize that people want their packages to arrive as soon as possible, especially when we go into Christmas, and that also means on the weekends, and our people are really doing everything they can to meet the huge demand during challenging times. “
‘Scary’ photo revealed the extent of the problem
It comes after a confrontational photo surfaced Monday showing the mountains of packages being stacked waiting to be delivered at the distribution center in the Melbourne suburb of Sunshine.
Ms Skehan admitted to 3AW Breakfast that the picture looked “a little scary” and the postal giant was struggling with a “huge logistical problem” which forced a temporary hiatus on pickup and drop-off of e-packages.
Another statement read: “At Christmas-level parcel volumes, our network continues to be under increasing pressure and strengthened in Victoria, where we continue to manage a greatly reduced workforce due to the impact of the Delta tribe.”
Skehan said it was a “difficult decision” to pause parcel collections from e-commerce retailers, but it had been “crucial” to bringing quantities in Victorian facilities back to safe levels.
About 4.5 million packages could be processed during that time, while deliveries continued across the city.
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