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'Please bear with us': Huge spike in parcel volumes causing delays as Level 5 online shopping booms

Between the deluge of online orders and the need to social distance in depots, An Post has said “everything takes longer” this year.

File photo. An Post parcel hub in Dublin.
File photo. An Post parcel hub in Dublin.
Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

AN POST IS asking customers to bear with it as it deals with a 130% increase in the volume of packages and parcels compared to 2019.

Parcel volumes have “peaked beyond Christmas volumes” but An Post stressed that “everything is under control” as it moves through the busy period.

The move to Level 5 almost three weeks ago meant that non-essential retailers had to shut their doors. They are set to remain closed until 1 December at the earliest.

And, ahead of the busy Christmas period, online sales are booming. An Post has faced a slew of queries on social media regarding the status of parcels, with customers saying they’re facing delays receiving them. The company says it has been handling a huge volume of parcels in recent weeks.

A spokesperson for An Post told TheJournal.ie: “Covid-19 has accelerated the move to online shopping on top of which there is a huge early rush on Christmas shopping and a move to purchasing everyday essentials online due to the Level 5 retail restrictions.”

The company said that from the retailers themselves dispatching items, to processing items and to eventually delivering them is all taking slightly longer this year. It said this is being felt by all carriers including An Post.

As well as the large volume, public health guidelines such as social distancing mean that extra measures have to be taken in postal depots to ensure the safety of employees. The company said that the current delays are due to the sheer number of post it’s processing, and is not being caused by any staff absent due to Covid-19.

Its commerce MD Garrett Bridgeman said: “There has never been parcel volumes like this, up 130% on the same time last year – a total of 8 million items a week between letters and parcels.

Due to a huge spike in volumes and ensuring the safety of our staff, everything takes longer. It’s taking retailers longer to despatch, and it’s taking longer  to process items and longer to get out on delivery so  we are asking customers for their patience. We will deliver your parcels. Please bear with us as we’re working around the clock to sort and deliver. We’re out delivering in the evenings and at weekends too. 

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An Post said there had been a large increase in Irish retailers trading online and this was creating its own logistical challenges.

The company added the opening of a new automated parcel centre in the coming weeks in Dublin will help to relieve the pressure heading into December.

Bridgeman said: “To ensure the safety of staff, we are working with staggered start times,  socially distanced work-spaces and in accordance with all guidelines.

We’re seeing a mobilisation of An Post’s workforce like never before and we assure customers that we will get your parcels to you, just please, be patient.  If you normally get your items next day it may take 2 -3 days to get your parcel.

With reporting from Órla Ryan

About the author:

Sean Murray

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