Online shopping’s Covid boom

Postie Tracy Books ready to deliver another load in Tumut.

If online shopping has increased in recent years, then it has absolutely gone through the roof in the era of Covid-enforced lockdowns.

This means lots of work for postal employees and couriers, and Tumut has not been spared.

With extended lockdowns and parcel volumes hitting heights not seen since Christmas last year, Australia Post is introducing new measures to keep deliveries moving including a hiring blitz to boost staff numbers and ramp up weekend deliveries.

Having already opened pop-up sites to help with processing Australia Post is set to recruit more than 4,000 new team members nationally, with 3500 additional delivery roles (including 350 in regional areas) which includes more than 1000 drivers and 2100 staff to help sort parcels, as well as many new customer support roles based in Victoria and Queensland.

With the most recent lockdowns across New South Wales and Victoria driving Australians to shop online in record numbers, Australia Post has confirmed that weekend deliveries will remain in place from now until the end of the year, with up to half a million parcels delivered each and every weekend from now until Christmas.

More than 9 million Australians shopped online in the past financial year, with Australia Post’s 2021 Inside Online Shopping eCommerce report revealing almost 32 per cent growth year-on-year.

Australia Post Executive General Manager, Community and Consumer Nicole Sheffield said that despite the challenges presented by COVID safety requirements, fewer passenger flights reducing air freight capacity  and reliance on overseas postal and delivery services, while customer  may be experiencing some delays, the vast majority of parcels were still arriving on time.

“Our posties and drivers have been out there since March last year often delivering on most days like it’s Christmas, and we know that Australians are relying on us more than ever and will continue to in the coming months, which is why we’re putting some key measures in place to be ready for our biggest Christmas ever,” Ms Sheffield said. 

“We’ll be hiring more than 4,000 new team members across the country, helping process at our sorting facilities, helping customers online and on the phone, and out delivering for Australians.”

Ms Sheffield said that it was all part of a two-pronged focus of delivering for Australians, while keeping our people and communities safe.

“We’ve introduced a series of measures to keep our people and customers safe, so while it means there might be some slight delays, Australians should know we’re working harder than ever to keep delivering their parcels safely.” 

Tumut postie Mark Elder said he and his co-workers had been “very busy”.

“We are delivering anywhere up to 2 to 2500 parcels a week,” he said.

“In pre-Covid times it would be about 1000, so it has easily doubled.”

The expected surge resulting from the state-wide lockdown announcement on August 14 hasn’t kicked in yet, but Mr Elder knows it is just a matter of time.

“It is fairly steady at the moment, but we are expecting it to increase,” he said.

“We are expecting it to go up.”

Last year, when Covid-19 first got the world in its grip, parcel deliveries in Tumut would be about 2500-3000 a week.

“Before that, 4000 was a monthly average,” Mr Elder said.

“Four or five years ago, 2000 was a monthly average.”

He and his team mates are focused on getting the job done.

“We have four posties, two parcel contractors and four roadside contractors all working hard to deliver every day,” he said.