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Australia Post to deliver parcels on weekends

Canberra Times logo Canberra Times 9/05/2014 Julie Power
Australia Post will soon be open for business on weekends, its chief executive officer has said. © Getty Australia Post will soon be open for business on weekends, its chief executive officer has said.

Australia Post’s 700 corporate offices will open for Saturday trading from next Christmas, allowing customers to send and receive parcels on the weekends, Australia Post's managing director and CEO Ahmed Fahour said on Friday.

Announcing the move Friday, Mr Fahour warned Australia Post would lose as much as $1 billion a year if it didn't implement reforms and changes. He said the traditional letters component of the business "was bleeding money as the community shifts away from letters and towards digital forms of communication."

" We lost $218 million in providing the letters service last financial year," Mr Fahour said.

"This loss has been growing – every year – since our letter volumes started declining five years ago. In this current financial year we are now projecting a $350 million loss in providing the regulated letters business.

"Our projections show that with mail volume declines now accelerating to between eight and 11 per cent per annum over the coming years, our letters business, under current momentum, will lose over $1 billion annually in the coming years. We do not have the ability to absorb this."

However, six day trading and delivery will soon be available from all corporate offices, Mr Fahour said, while many of the 2,895 licensed post offices may choose to expand their weekend hours, too.

The Express Post and Express Letter guaranteed delivery service will also be available six days a week by adding a Saturday delivery option.

In a speech to the American Chamber of Commerce in Sydney, Mr Fahour said these new services reflected a shift away from declining letters services to a growing market for parcels, express and retail services.

He told the lunchtime crowd that profits on parcels and express business had grown 20 per cent each year since 2010.

Mr Fahour said a quarter of the post office’s revenue was now generated from services that only been created in the past four years.

“For an organisation of our size, a quarter of revenue is a remarkable change. For a business that’s 205 years old I hope that indicates just how rapidly we are changing and handling the customer decline in the usage of letters,” he said.

The Saturday expansion coincides with continuing reports that the Federal Government may privatise the 205-year-old organisation to add more than $3 billion to its coffers.

The post office was established by Isaac Nichols, Australia's first postmaster, in a "simple room" inside his own home on George Street.

"It was a trusted place where the 10,000 British soldiers and convicts who were living here in 1809 could connect with their loved ones on the other side of the world," said Mr Fahour.  

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