Parcel deliveries to Australia temporarily suspended

Parcel deliveries from the United States to Australia have been temporarily suspended. This is due to COVID-19 and ‘other unrelated service disruptions’. Backlogs have created a big issue for postal service companies around the globe. Many companies have had to suspend deliveries to deal with the amount of unsent parcels sitting in warehouses.  Delivery services will undertake several activities in the lead up to Christmas to help with backlogs.

Parcel Deliveries Temporarily Suspended

United States Postal Service (USPS) have temporarily suspended parcel deliveries to Australia. This suspension took effect on 4th October 2021 and no end date has been provided as of yet. The main reason for the temporary suspension is similar to what’s happening in Australia. There is an overload of deliveries across the US.

This has resulted in a slowing of deliveries, bringing parcel delivery down to levels similar to the 1970s. This is not the first time USPS has suspended international parcels. In March 2020, suspensions were made to France, China, the UK, Spain, Sweden, Hong Kong, and Switzerland. In August 2021, suspensions were made to Brunei, Vietnam and East Timor. 

USPS commented on the suspension saying it was “due to COVID and unrelated service disruptions”. There isn’t much detail on what ‘unrelated service disruptions’ means, however there are certain indicators which hint at what they could be. They include couriers going on strike and needing to process larger-than-normal volumes of parcels. 

COVID-19’s Impact on Parcel Deliveries

COVID-19 has had a major impact on parcel deliveries globally. Firstly, it has made it difficult for courier companies to uphold COVID restrictions. Workers are either at risk or have to make compromises. Facilities have had to temporarily shut down due to lockdowns. These factors have contributed to delays in parcel deliveries globally and locally. Lockdowns have also caused online shopping to increase drastically around the globe. 

StarTrack couriers went on strike for 24 hours during the last week of September. The strike occurred due to a lack of job security from the employers hiring external staff to help with delivery backlogs. The strike further impacted delivery delays particularly with parcel deliveries volumes at an all time high. Australia Post made more deliveries in August than it did last Christmas season. Over a million parcels a day are being processed in Melbourne. 

These factors have contributed to the slowing down. For Australians, this means we have been getting delays in our deliveries. Globally it has led to the suspension of deliveries to other countries. 

Weekend Deliveries

Parcel delivery services will undertake several activities in the lead up to Christmas to help reduce the stockpile of packages and ensure Christmas gifts reach homes in time. These activities include opening up new facilities, employing new staff, and delivering on weekends. 

Australia Post will be opening 6 pop-up processing sites to fulfil weekend parcel deliveries. Sites in Dandenong, Somerton, Tottenham, Thomastown and Derrimut will open to help Australia Post make 350,000 parcel deliveries each weekend for the rest of the year. 

An additional 1000 team members will be added to these sites to help with these increased parcel deliveries. These parcel delivery numbers have only previously been seen during Christmas periods. This will help with the large number of parcels needed to be delivered. It will also help with the weekend deliveries which will take place until the end of the year. Australia Post will be hiring an additional 4000 team members across the country to help alleviate this massive stress on parcel deliveries. 

No other courier company is delivering parcels on the weekend. However, Toll has come to an agreement with the Transport Workers Union. This will bring an end to strikes happening over the last 6 months. This means that more parcel deliveries will take place across the country. 

Linfox has established COVID-19 hubs for its frontline employees and subcontractors. The workers will have access to Pfizer vaccinations. The purpose of the hub is to “protect the frontline workers, their families and the wider community.” With frontline workers being fully vaccinated, the process for parcel deliveries will become safer and take the pressure off courier companies. 

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