The national postal service currently delivers 10 million parcels per week, but parcel deliveries are expected to reach 52 million per week in December.
Twilight deliveries have been kicked off in Melbourne and Perth and trading hours will be extended from Nov. 27 in more than 380 retail outlets across the country.
Australia Post Executive General Manager Deliveries Rod Barnes said that the new services were another way the postal service was pulling out to ensure parcels are delivered on time during the festival season.
“In the last few weeks, we have recruited almost 300 drivers specifically to hit the roads after hours across Melbourne and Perth, and we expect our twilight service to help us deliver an additional 25,000 parcels per day in these two cities alone, so if you hear one of our drivers roll up perhaps just as you’re getting home, don’t be surprised,” he said.
“Many of our Post Offices have also extended their opening times to provide our customers greater flexibility with their sending and receiving in the lead up to the big day.”
The changes to delivery and trading hours come at a timely period as Australians are already experiencing increased delivery delays as transport staff go on strike along with high volumes of online shopping orders for Christmas.
There were concerns on Monday after FedEx workers across Australia went on four-hour stoppages due to disputes over pay and work conditions that deliveries services could be delayed.
The rolling four-hour work stoppages starting affected New South Wales and Western Australia on Monday, and were rolled out on Tuesday for Victoria and Tasmania, and will continue on Wednesday in Queensland and South Australia.
This comes as the Australia Post Executive General Manager Gary Starr said that over half of all households across the country (5.8 million) consistently shopping online during the recent months has driven the national online purchase growth for the 12 months to the end of October to more than 18 percent when compared to last year.
“We know this growth will continue with over two-in-five shoppers intending to buy their Christmas presents online this month, making November the most popular month for online Christmas shopping.” he said.
However, Barnes said that Australia Post was ready for its biggest Christmas ever.
“We have invested in many areas to help increase our capacity, including chartering extra planes, putting more vehicles on the road, recruiting more than 5,000 new team members, and opening new permanent and temporary facilities to manage the volume.
“This year’s lockdowns across the country meant Australians were doing a lot more online shopping all at once, and in October we saw 5.7 million households shopping online, up almost 15 per cent on the previous year,” he said.
Extended trading hours will vary according to each Australia Post outlet and will continue until Dec. 23.