Bedlam at post office

The hard-working team at Tumut Post Office: Suzelle Machel, Lee Halpin, Mark Elder, Rob Radwell and Tracey Books

Australia Post’s busiest time of the year was yesterday and a glance around the back room at Tumut post office indicated as much, with towering pillars of parcels both big and small crowding the sorting area- a sight that was enough to make Santa’s workshop seem deserted.

Tumut Postman Mark Elder is a busy man at the best of times but said that his yearly run was nothing compared to what goes down on December 16.

“It’s definitely our biggest day and it hasn’t stopped,” Mr Elder said. “Today alone (Monday morning) we’ve had 275 parcels come through so far and we will sort through a thousand for the Tumut area alone.

“It’s definitely a combined effort that requires all hands on deck but we will get there.”

“We’ve had them come in all shapes and sizes and in one case we had a parcel that was no bigger than two feet but weighed something like 20 kilos.

“I am looking forward to it being over but I do love this time of the year also. Catching a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes really shows the work that goes in but highlights how special this time of the year is also,” he said.

When asked when the influx of parcels will cease, there is no hesitation in his response.

“It won’t until it’s all done.”

It was expected that yesterday would be the biggest parcel delivery day in Australia’s history, with hardworking posties, drivers and mail and parcel sorters set to exceed the record of three million parcels first set in the lead-up to Christmas last year, and then again on ‘Cyber Monday’.

With new facilities and automation coming online right across the country in the lead up to the peak Christmas period, Australia Post has already been able to process more parcels than ever before.

On the back of shopping events like Singles Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Australians have been shopping up a storm online, with an estimated five million parcels processed over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend – and over two million parcels delivered every single working day for the last three weeks.

Australia Post Group Chief Operating Officer Bob Black said Australia’s love for online shopping always booms in the lead-up to Christmas, with shoppers increasingly wooed online by the convenience that it offers.

“With more than three million parcels expected to be delivered tomorrow, it is going to be a big day for all our hard-working staff right across our network, and is set to become our biggest single delivery day ever,” Mr Black said.

“Our new facilities and automation, together with the recruitment of more than 3000 new staff in the lead-up to Christmas, is helping us deliver more Christmas cheer than ever before.”

The most popular categories are toys and games, as well as fashion and jewelry, followed by health and beauty products.

Last December, Australia Post delivered more than 40 million parcels – up from 37 million the year before – and that growth is expected to continue, bolstered by the significant investment made in the network.

Australia Post is in the midst of a three-year $900 million national investment in infrastructure and automation to strengthen its growing parcels business.

In the lead-up to Christmas, it has also extended trading hours for more than 190 of its post offices across the country.

Along with extended trading hours, Australia Post customers also can collect their Christmas gifts at a free 24/7-parcel locker in over 350 locations across the country, and can track their deliveries online.

Extended trading will continue until Sunday, December 22.