Singapore Post (SingPost) will be hiring a hundred more postmen and redeploying 35 mail-drop drivers to become full-time postmen as well as increase the number of dedicated counters and staff at post offices. The steps follow the decision by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to fine SingPost S$100,000 (US$74,000) for not meeting quality of service (QoS) standards on delivery of local basic letters and registered mail in 2017.
Other measures include upgrading the skills of its postal workers; a salary review; and extending mail delivery slots to weekday evenings and on Saturdays with overtime pay for postmen.
SingPost added that it also plans to reduce non-core mail businesses, such as advertisement mail, to focus on raising its service levels for its core mail delivery business.
In its statement, SingPost noted that the growth of e-commerce has boosted package volumes, raising the postman's workload "significantly." Over the last few months, a seasonal period where e-commerce typically tends to surge, each postman carried out 50 to 60 doorstep deliveries daily on average.
A report in The Edge quoted Aileen Chia, IMDA's deputy chief executive and director-general (telecoms & post) as saying that IMDA expects SingPost to deliver reliable public postal services to consumers and businesses, in compliance with its licence obligations. "IMDA has been closely monitoring the performance of SingPost's postal services and will take firm action against SingPost for any breaches of the public postal licence requirements and QoS standards."
IMDA is currently assessing SingPost's QoS for 2018 and will publish the results by mid-year.
Earlier last week, SingPost said in the three months ended Dec 31, net profit rose 15.6% to S$50.2 million (US$37.1 million) from S$43.4 million for the year-ago quarter. A one-time gain contributed to the result because SingPost's China-based logistics company 4PX ceased to be an associated company after the group's shareholding was diluted by the issuance of additional 4PX shares to an existing shareholder.
Profit on operating activities declined 8.5% to S$42.2 million as higher contributions from post and parcel, logistics and property businesses were largely offset by continued losses in the U.S., the postal provider said.
Revenue increased across SingPost's four business segments, namely property, e-commerce, logistics, as well as post and parcel. While post and parcel revenue rose 9% to S$213.2 million, thanks to increased domestic and international e-commerce deliveries over the e-commerce peak season, SingPost's e-commerce segment also saw higher volumes, with revenue for the business segment rising 8.7% to S$82.5 million.
No improvement in the U.S. in sight
Despite the fact that its post and parcel business continues to benefit from the growth in global e-commerce activities, SingPost noted that it continues to face challenges in the e-commerce operating environment in the U.S., due to greater competition and rising customer bankruptcies.
It said the U.S. businesses are underperforming and are expected to remain loss-making in the current financial year and there could be a risk of impairment to the carrying value of its U.S. businesses.
Nol van Fenema