Australia is experiencing a mail meltdown in certain regions, and it’s pressing the pause button this weekend in an effort to catchup, impacting both domestic retailers and international sellers.
On Wednesday, Australia Post announced it would pause Parcel Post collections from ecommerce retailers in 2 states (New South Wales and Victoria) and Australian Capital Territory from September 4 through September 7 in order to catch up with the backlog.
It planned to continue collections in all other states and territories, and deliveries were set to continue as usual, with post offices remaining open “as our people deliver record amounts of parcels to Australians.”
But online sellers outside the country also got bad news this week – the USPS will temporarily stop accepting packages destined for Australia: First-Class Package International Service, Commercial ePacket, International Priority Airmail Packets, International Surface Air Lift Packets.
IMAG (International Mailers Advisory Group) noted that the USPS suspension of packets to Australia that begins on September 3rd will be in place until further notice. It said letters and flats would not be impacted, and it noted in a Tweet on Wednesday that Australia was a major destination for outbound international mail.
eBay sellers in Australia discussed the issue, and one seller published a letter they received informing them of the domestic package-pickup suspension. The following is an excerpt of the letter from Australia Post that details some of the challenges it’s facing:
“As you know, across the country we are all managing the sustained challenges of the COVID pandemic. With two of our largest States and some 15 million people in lockdown, the fluctuations in customer online shopping have significantly increased.
“We are also dealing with the impacts of the Delta strain and in any given day, we have close to 500 people out of our workforce as they follow necessary self-isolation and testing before clearance back to work.
“This is putting increased pressure on our network like nothing we have experienced before, as we manage staff shortages, temporary facility closures, and parcel volumes as high as Christmas peak period.
“To help us clear excess parcel volumes in NSW, ACT and VIC due to these impacts, we will be suspending customer collections in these areas.”
eBay Australia posted the news on its Announcement board where it outlined ways it would protect sellers impacted by the mail suspension:
How we’re protecting you
Given the ongoing government restrictions, protections are already in place for sellers based in or posting items to NSW, VIC and ACT, whereby:
- We have extended estimated delivery dates nationwide. Based on this latest disruption we are further extending estimated delivery dates
- We will remove your late shipment defects
- We will remove your Item Not Received (INR) count in Service Metrics, along with any related Negative or Neutral Feedback. To be eligible, upload valid tracking before the estimated delivery date
eBay notified US sellers on Thursday, though it did not say if it would extend any protections to sellers. eBay warned that packages would be “returned to sender” if mailed during the indefinite suspension. It also noted that its eBay international standard delivery and GSP were not affected – “both services will continue to provide timely delivery to Australia,” it said.
Etsy also advised its sellers on Thursday and wrote, “As an alternative, you can choose Global Postal Shipping as a carrier when you purchase labels on Etsy. They are still able to deliver packages into Australia.”
2 thoughts on “Packages to Australia Paused as Post Plays Covid Catch-up”
Just in time to mess things up for people in the US who want to mail holiday packages to AU. This stinks.
Not only is Australia’s domestic mail delivery backlogged, but reduced air cargo capacity has constrained regular international mail volume. Since Australians can’t easily return home due to constrained isolation facilities, there aren’t enough international flights that can carry cargo including parcels… Given the current impressive covid-19 spike in NSW and Victoria it’s unlikely to improve any time soon.
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