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Courier shortages, parcel backlog delaying deliveries

By LUO WANGSHU | | Updated: 2022-12-13 19:23
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Workers process packages in a logistics center in Anren county of Chenzhou city, Central China's Hunan province, on Oct 5, 2022. [Photo/VCG]

Although China's parcel delivery sector has consistently shown signs of recovery since the beginning of this month, delays remain as the peak season coincides with courier shortages due to the epidemic.

According to the State Post Bureau of China, the industry's regulator, the country collected 4.3 billion parcels from Dec 1 to Monday, a year-on-year increase of 5.6 percent. On Monday, which was the Double Twelve online shopping event, one of the biggest in China, couriers collected 453 million parcels.

China announced 10 new epidemic control measures on Dec 7. Parcel delivery has continued to improve since then, with the daily volume of packages collected remaining above 360 million.

To ensure smooth delivery, the bureau has added parcel delivery companies and employees to a whitelist.

Most parcel delivery stations and distribution centers have reopened since the new measures were announced, but as of Sunday, China has about 400 parcel delivery stations in some areas such as Beijing that are still closed.

Aside from the closings, many customers are still grappling with delivery delays for a variety of reasons.

For instance, online orders that had been suspended in some places due to earlier epidemic control protocols have only recently started up again. Though optimized measures were announced on Dec 7, parcel delivery companies have to gradually sort through and deliver backlogged orders.

In addition, labor shortages caused by the epidemic have also lead to delays, as more couriers are test positive for COVID-19.

Parcel delivery companies have carried out measures to ensure smooth, timely delivery, such as extending delivery hours and recruiting more employees.

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