THELockdown restrictions in several parts of Australia have put a strain on the country’s postal service, as millions turn to online shopping and delivery to get goods they would once have bought in person.
On September 4, Australia Post suspended parcel collection services for online retailers in New South Wales, ACT and Victoria for three days to erase “record parcel volumes” in these regions.
Australia Post says that ‘in some areas we are seeing parcel volumes similar to Christmas 2020’ and customers should expect delivery delays.
Alternative solutions, such as courier companies, are also feeling the pressure.
“We can’t find courier companies that can support very small businesses in the same way they can maybe fit into larger ones,” says Melbourne-based florist Cassandra Hamilton. “They have become less and less reliable throughout this pandemic period. As a result, Hamilton chose to employ in-house couriers to complete its approximately 100 deliveries per day.
Hiring your own delivery driver is not an option for consumers who just need a package delivered quickly. But if you need to send a package or letter on a tight deadline, there are solutions that work for individuals.
First of all, call
At the Catinella fashion showroom, 150 packages of clothing are due to be shipped each week for use on photoshoots across the country.
Lola Van Vorst, who oversees these efforts, suggests that while most courier services allow you to book online, calling can give you the best results, especially if your delivery needs are complex. “Working with couriers – miracles can happen,” she says. “You just have to be prepared to spend the time making the calls. “
Sending parcels locally
Tilly Barber, owner of Homebody, a Melbourne-based vintage furniture online store, ships five to ten pieces of furniture and art to Australia every week. To quickly send parcels across town, she recommends Uber connection, a parcel delivery service that uses Uber drivers. “I used it to return upholstery tools borrowed from an antique dealer across town within an hour!” That’s great, ”she says, noting that this service tracks the movements of an item after it’s been collected, which most same-day freight services don’t. 13cabins also offers a tracked parcel delivery service for shipping items locally.
While these services are quick, they aren’t cheap, with prices based on total distance traveled, tolls, and time taken to complete delivery, much like a regular taxi or rideshare fare.
Barber notes that taxi-based courier services can only deliver items that fit in a car. For larger items, she recommends One Tonne Express and Skip the freight as suitable alternatives.
In Sydney, Van Vorst recommends Flash mails as “great value for money” and “reliable service for all package sizes” when it comes to local deliveries.
Sending parcels to regions
Nina Wang operates an individual store on the social shopping platform Depop and has shipped over 400 packages in the past year. She says Australia Post is often the best option for sending packages to remote or regional areas due to the size of their delivery network. “Same day parcel delivery services would probably not support deliveries to regions and the delivery cost would also be quite high for the long journey time,” she says. “I would recommend AusPost express mail – if you are not a business there is a flat fee for packages no matter where you send them.”
Sue McIntyre, owner of Broadwater Oysters, which has the complex task of shipping its perishable seashells across the country, also praises Australia Post for regional deliveries. She uses Metrostate (which only serves businesses) for most deliveries, but “anywhere else they don’t go we can use Australia Post for”.
“It’s a huge advantage for our business, even if it takes a few extra days to get there.
Sending interstate parcels
In a study published on September 1, which surveyed 700 small and medium-sized businesses, Canstar Blue ranked Couriers please as the best courier service in Australia. The service was rated very high for customer satisfaction, ease of booking and was also highly rated on value for money. Sending a 3kg interstate tracked package costs around $ 10.57 with Couriers Please, and the service claims to arrive within two business days, but they have reported that their services could be affected by Covid-related delays. .
In Canstar survey, Australia Post service only for businesses StarTrack came in second, with customers praising their reliability and speed of execution. DHL Express was third in the table, with Australia Post in fourth place.
Although Canstar’s investigation rated DHL lower than some competitors on ‘value for money’, Van Vorst said she found DHL to be ‘the most reliable service’ for interstate and international shipments that needed to arrive quickly, and said service tracking progress was known. to be detailed and up to date. However, she also recommends a logistics service InXpress, which partners with other delivery companies and “passes on their discounted shipping rates, which means we can send packages nationally and internationally using their rates with companies like DHL, FedEx, and UPS.” .
Meanwhile, Wang’s budget-conscious recommendation is Send, a carbon-neutral delivery company that promises to beat standard parcel postage prices and offers discounts to regular users.
“I would only recommend using Sendle if your recipients don’t mind waiting a little longer for their packages,” she says. “What if you feel comfortable with parcel pick-ups or if a Sendle depot is closer to you than an AusPost store.”
Van Vorst warns that since the start of the pandemic, international shipments have suffered significant delays. “Previously, we could send samples to the United States in two days and now we have to allow at least five days, which can cause problems with last-minute requests,” she says, noting that FedEx gave it the fastest results when it comes to shipping specifically to the United States.
For international delivery, Wang adds, “I would definitely recommend DHL Express, although it is quite expensive.
Keep in mind that you will need access to a printer to properly label your packages with most courier services.
Tilly Barber also suggests that the more detail you provide, the better. “Most couriers will require details in writing to establish a quote and schedule collection and delivery. I think it’s best to put as much information as possible in writing, ”she says.
Finally, be aware that even if it is delayed, your package will more than likely arrive safe and sound. Canstar Blue editor-in-chief Christine Seib says their poll found major mistakes to be rare. “Only 14% of small business owners and managers said their business had ever sent an item that had not been delivered, and only 17% said an item had arrived damaged. “