A nationwide network of parcel locker stations will be rolled out starting late 2020 by the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) in public locations like housing estates, MRT stations, and community clubs, located within 250m of every Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat.
This was announced by Communications and Information Minister S. Iswaran earlier today (3 March) during the debate on his ministry’s budget. Mr Iswaran noted that the network of 1,000 lockers is aimed at increasing the efficiency for couriers in delivering parcels by eliminating the need for going door-to-door.
During the debate, Mr Iswaran highlighted the growth of e-commerce and in turn, the rapid rise of deliveries being made globally. In Singapore, about 200,000 parcels are delivered each day, noted the minister, adding that the sector is expected to grow between 12 to 20 percent per year over the next five years.
“It is neither productive nor sustainable, for this growing volume of packages to all be delivered to the doorstep,” said Mr Iswaran.
“We do need alternative solutions. We must enhance Singapore’s last-mile delivery infrastructure,” he added.
In addressing this need, the minister explained that the national parcel locker station network is an expansion of the pilot project launched at Bukit Panjang and Punggol’s HDB towns in 2018. Under that program, 23 lockers were places in Bukit Panjang while Punggol had 39.
During the pilot programme, the locker sites were run by Singapore Post (SingPost) while the locker service operator was BluPort. However, the nationwide initiative will instead be managed by IMDA, noted Mr Iswaran.
Nonetheless, IMDA will still be partnering with SingPost to leverage off the agency’s “extensive postal service experience”, said the minister. He added that the authority will also collaborate with Shopee – the online shopping firm – to develop solutions that will address the growing demands of e-commerce.
According to IMDA, the pilot showed that the lockers increased delivery efficiency by four foul, with drivers able to dispatch 250 parcels in just one day compared to the approximately 60 parcels they could deliver when going door-to-door.
On the consumer side of things, IMDA noted that of those who were utilising the lockers, a survey by the National University of Singapore (NUS) in September last year showed that 75 percent of users were satisfied with the service.
“Building on the pilot’s achievements, IMDA will scale up the network of parcel lockers and deploy them nationwide to better serve the needs of Singapore residents,” it elaborated.
Quoting assistant professor He Long from the NUS Business School’s department of analytics and operations, TODAY highlighted that the locker system managed to boost delivery productivity by reducing the time taken by delivery riders to travel all the way to customers’ doorsteps, while also optimising delivery routes.
SingPost is rebuilding public trust
During the debate earlier today, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Ms Sim Ann also said that the national postal service SingPost is improving its service standards to rebuild the public’s trust after several service lapses over the last few of years.
The postal service was slapped with a S$300,000 fine for not meeting service standards in its letter delivery in 2018 after was fined S$100,000 the year before for a similar lapse.
Ms Sim did also say that consumer complaints were down by 40 percent at the end of 2019 compared to the same period the year before, adding that customer satisfaction has also improved.
Some of the measures that SingPost will implement to improve its service include extended delivery hours during peak periods, improved staff remunerations, and hiring more postmen.
Ms Sim stated that MCI and IMDA will be working closely with SingPost to improve its service standards.