Logistics providers keen on locker network

At least four logistics providers, including the biggest player, Singapore Post, could be involved in the open network of parcel lockers that the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) called for yesterday in its plan to make deliveries more efficient.

The pilot will go live in the second half of next year, involving some 75 lockers in public housing estates and train stations in Punggol and Bukit Panjang.

IMDA will call for proposals for the six-to 12-month pilot from companies by the year end.

The eventual system will allow logistics providers to operate this integrated network, which is expected to have some 760 lockers covering the whole island eventually. But the different operators have to provide a consistent user interface, much like how the Wireless@SG national Wi-Fi network works.

SingPost, which operates the largest network of parcel lockers called POPStation at 153 locations, said it is keen to work with more players. It has since July last year been renting out locker space to those who want to use it to facilitate buying and selling on online marketplaces.

"We would like to work with the Government to expand parcel locker use in Singapore," said Mr Freddy Chang, head of SP Parcels, a subsidiary of SingPost. "Parcel lockers are an important solution to improving efficiency at the last mile of delivery."

Local logistics start-up blu said the IMDA scheme is timely, given the increase in online shopping and urban congestion. It currently operates 49 bluPort lockers islandwide, mostly at petrol kiosks, malls and Cheers convenience stores.

"Collaborating with IMDA allows us to explain and promote the benefits of a parcel locker network to both retailers and logistics sector stakeholders," said Mr Cliff Lim, business development head at blu, which works with DHL and FedEx.

Another local start-up, Go Plus, which has developed a parcel locker with biometric verification capabilities, and Ninja Van, which operates a handful of Ninja Boxes here, said they will consider taking part in the IMDA's parcel locker network.

For consumers and online shoppers, a nationwide network of lockers is a welcome development. Pre-school teacher Jasmine Kaur, 33, uses POPStation but there is none within walking distance of her home in Ang Mo Kio. "It would be great if consumers have more pickup points to choose from," she said.

Irene Tham

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 02, 2017, with the headline 'Logistics providers keen on locker network'. Print Edition | Subscribe