Online shoppers will soon be able to collect their packages from parcel locker stations located within a five minutes' walk of all Housing Board blocks.
This nationwide network of 1,000 stations will be progressively rolled out by end-2022 starting from this year, and will ease the woes of a delivery sector hard-pressed by the rise of e-commerce.
Stations will be located in HDB estates, MRT stations and community centres. The initiative was announced by Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Sim Ann yesterday.
"In Singapore, the popularity of e-commerce has led to a steady increase in parcel deliveries. But given Singapore's urban context and consumers' busy lifestyles, doorstep deliveries often mean missed deliveries," said Ms Sim during the debate on the Ministry of Communications and Information's budget.
"Our postal infrastructure must evolve to offer practical alternatives to doorstep deliveries."
Ms Sim was replying to Nominated MP Mohamed Irshad's question on the future of post.
The network will be available for use by all e-commerce and logistics service providers. Each station will feature lockers of different sizes to accommodate most packages.
The number of lockers at each station has yet to be finalised, but it is expected to vary across districts due to different demographics.
Couriers deposit parcels into the lockers by scanning a barcode. An SMS notification is then sent to the consumer with a PIN number, which the consumer has to input at the station to retrieve the package.
The nationwide roll-out of locker stations follows a successful trial launched in December 2018 by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).
IMDA worked with 18 companies, including platforms such as Qoo10 and Zalora, and logistics service providers such as Singapore Post (SingPost), to deploy 62 locker stations in Punggol and Bukit Panjang.
Results from the pilot showed that a driver was able to deliver up to 250 parcels a day to the lockers, about four times more deliveries compared with doorstep deliveries.
This increased efficiency may result in more competitive delivery prices for consumers, Ms Sim added.
Air steward Lim Chee Keong was one of the consumers who benefited from the 2018 trial.
Mr Lim, 48, who lives in Bukit Panjang, said he collects purchases from locker stations about once a month.
"It's very convenient because I don't have to plan my schedule around when the delivery guy comes (to my doorstep).
"I can even go after midnight if I want," he added.
"I'm lucky to have many locker stations near my home, and it's good to know that this will be the case for more people soon."
The rise of e-commerce has put tremendous pressure on Singapore's delivery sector.
Around 200,000 parcels are delivered daily in Singapore.
SingPost was hit with a record $400,000 fine last year for failing to meet government delivery standards for postal services over the previous two years.
It attributed the lapses largely to the growth of e-commerce, which had strained a postal system built primarily for letters.
For example, postmen had to deliver packages too large for letterboxes to doorsteps.