Parcel firms eye joyous online Christmas


Australian and international parcel delivery firms are gearing up for a strong pre-Christmas period this year. <br /><br /> Much of the bullishness is being sheeted home to the online shopping boom and US-based international firms especially have been crowing about the services they have dedicated to this business. Australia Post has made no secret of its belief that parcels represent its future as letters decline due to electronic personal communication.

By Rob McKay | November 9, 2011

Australian and international parcel delivery firms are gearing up for a strong pre-Christmas period this year.

Much of the bullishness is being sheeted home to the online shopping boom and US-based international firms especially have been crowing about the services they have dedicated to this business.

Australia Post has made no secret of its belief that parcels represent its future as letters decline due to electronic personal communication.

"During December, Australia Post is expecting a 20 percent increase in the number of parcels it normally delivers, due to the rising number of Australians going online to do their Christmas shopping," the government-owned company says.

"We expect the number of parcels to be sent across our network over the festive season to reach record levels.

"Over the past year we have seen the number of parcels being sent across our network increase by more than 10 per cent.

"This year, we are forecasting the peak of Christmas mail and parcels going through our network will be around December 16 with more than 10 million parcels and mail items expected to be processed on that day alone."

Asked if online shopping was the major reason for the rise in volumes, a spokeswoman says: "It is definitely a big factor given that 70 percent of the parcels we deliver are a result of the boom in online shopping."

Allied Express is gearing up for the usual Christmas rush but indicates that its volumes should remain steady.

"Volumes will increase by 17 percent between the end of October and Christmas, based on our last three years’ history," a spokesman says.

"The first two weeks in December will be around 8-10 percent higher than November.

"The last two weeks of December drop off significantly."

The domestic indications come as US-based international delivery firms FedEx and UPS says they expect US volumes to rise significantly as Christmas looms.

FedEx tells ATN it has no forecast for Australia, however, it revealed late last month its belief that its global network volumes would rise 12 percent in the month before Christmas, driven by its SmartPost service, designed for online and catalog retailers, as well as expected increased volume at FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery.

"As e-commerce continues to grow and demand increases with more customers shopping and conducting their business online, FedEx SmartPost is poised to handle the increase in shipments," Chairman and CEO Frederick W Smith says.

UPS says this week that it foresees a 6 percent rise in US volumes on last year, a figure that may give some confidence to those hoping the economy of one of Australia’s major trading partners’ is starting to strengthen.

"Early indications point to a solid holiday shopping and shipping season," according to UPS Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Alan Gershenhorn.

"To handle the holiday rush and maintain the reliability that's needed when shopping close to Christmas, we're flexing every part of our global small package network.

"And this year we're excited because it will be the first season we've offered UPS My Choice service, which gives our US residential customers visibility and control of their arriving shipments."

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