SingPost plays helper to pass on Dear Santa letters

Ms Siti Asmah Tugimin, 58, on duty at the Paya Lebar facility's integrated letter-sorting machine. The 25-year SingPost veteran had help getting the mail out this season - even management staff rolled up their sleeves and chipped in during peak hours
Ms Siti Asmah Tugimin, 58, on duty at the Paya Lebar facility's integrated letter-sorting machine. The 25-year SingPost veteran had help getting the mail out this season - even management staff rolled up their sleeves and chipped in during peak hours to tackle the extra volume.PHOTOS: CHERYL FAITH WEE
Mr Huang Tai (top), 23, who has been with SingPost for three years, placing packages onto a conveyor belt to be sent for sorting; and Ms Chin Mee Fong (above), 62, now into her sixth year, collecting sorted letters and putting them in plastic boxes t
Mr Huang Tai (top), 23, who has been with SingPost for three years, placing packages onto a conveyor belt to be sent for sorting; and Ms Chin Mee Fong (above), 62, now into her sixth year, collecting sorted letters and putting them in plastic boxes to be sent to the postmen's delivery base. This season's mail included over 70 letters for Santa Claus - SingPost made sure they reached their destination, even covering the postage for any that had been underfranked.
Ms Siti Asmah Tugimin, 58, on duty at the Paya Lebar facility's integrated letter-sorting machine. The 25-year SingPost veteran had help getting the mail out this season - even management staff rolled up their sleeves and chipped in during peak hours
Ms Siti Asmah Tugimin, 58, on duty at the Paya Lebar facility's integrated letter-sorting machine. The 25-year SingPost veteran had help getting the mail out this season - even management staff rolled up their sleeves and chipped in during peak hours to tackle the extra volume.PHOTOS: CHERYL FAITH WEE
Ms Siti Asmah Tugimin, 58, on duty at the Paya Lebar facility's integrated letter-sorting machine. The 25-year SingPost veteran had help getting the mail out this season - even management staff rolled up their sleeves and chipped in during peak hours
Ms Siti Asmah Tugimin, 58, on duty at the Paya Lebar facility's integrated letter-sorting machine. The 25-year SingPost veteran had help getting the mail out this season - even management staff rolled up their sleeves and chipped in during peak hours to tackle the extra volume.PHOTOS: CHERYL FAITH WEE

Postal service keeps things merry as it copes with seasonal surge in mail

Around three million pieces of mail and packages are posted in Singapore daily, and among those sent out this month were dozens intended for Santa Claus.

This year, more than 70 letters for the fatherly Christmas figure were received by local postal services company SingPost.

But many did not have the correct address - Santa Claus' Main Post Office FI-96930 Arctic Circle, Lapland, Finland - or enough stamps to cover the postage all the way there.

SingPost paid the postal fees for the senders instead.

That was the least of the company's worries during this festive season.

Package volume rose by around 10 per cent this month, compared with the monthly average for the year, and SingPost had to employ extra staff to handle the seasonal surge. Mail volume remained about the same.

Said a SingPost spokesman: "We deploy about 25 per cent more postmen to perform Saturday deliveries for mail packages so that customers can receive their gifts or purchases on time."

More than 30 temporary staff were hired during the festive period. Even management staff pitched in, with more than 320 helping out at post offices during peak hours.

At the company's sorting facility in Paya Lebar, mail and parcels are processed through an interconnected network of machinery and SingPost staff.

The facility is manned by more than 200 people across three shifts, which last from 7am to 3pm, 2pm to 10.30pm and 9pm to 6am.

Each letter or parcel usually passes through at least five pairs of hands, including those of postmen and various staff at separate stages of the sorting process, before it arrives in letterboxes here.

cherylw@sph.com.sg