Pilot courier hubs rolled out at two HDB carparks to improve parcel delivery processes

A Shopee Express delivery driver sorting parcels at the pilot hub in Buangkok. PHOTO: URBAN REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

SINGAPORE - Delivery drivers, who have been handling higher parcel volumes amid an e-commerce boom, face one major roadblock - finding a suitable space to sort and consolidate items for consumers.

They are now getting help, with pilot courier hubs rolled out at two Housing Board carparks in Punggol and Buangkok. The designated lots provide delivery personnel with a safe and convenient space to sort and handle parcels, and the initiative could be implemented in other residential areas down the road.

The trial - via a partnership involving the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), HDB, Enterprise Singapore, the Singapore Land Authority and logistics operators Ninja Van and Shopee Express - was launched early last month and will run for three months.

"Following the pilot, the agencies will consider both the impact of the courier hubs on delivery efficiency/capacity and feedback from various stakeholders, to assess whether and how courier hubs may be implemented on a wider scale," a spokesman for URA said.

The courier hubs, in the upper decks of multi-storey carparks, make it more convenient for parcel walkers to pick up and deliver items.

This could allow more deliveries to be completed by them instead of delivery vehicles - reducing vehicle volume in residential areas.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (Nov 2), National Development Minister Desmond Lee said: "With the e-commerce boom in the past few years, it is certainly timely to consider how our urban infrastructure can better support such delivery systems."

Feedback on the courier hubs has been positive since implementation and has helped to streamline delivery processes on the ground, he added.

Mr Sharman Dustageer, head of fleet at Ninja Van Singapore, said drivers typically spend a significant amount of time looking for a suitable space to sort their parcels when delivering to high-traffic, densely populated areas such as Punggol.

This is a problem they face daily, on top of occasional issues such as dealing with inclement weather due to a lack of sheltered areas to sort parcels.

The pilot hub "helps us achieve fast delivery and safe parcel handling, both of which are of utmost importance to us", he added.

Mr Chen Ziyong, team lead for Shopee Express, said the courier hubs allow delivery assistants to sort parcels away from public areas, with wet weather no longer a hindrance.

This addresses some of the concerns previously raised by consumers, he noted.

"Parcel walkers are also able to operate more independently during the day and make return trips to pick up parcels that they were not able to pick up earlier - resulting in increased rates of fulfilment," he added.

HDB and URA said the two multi-storey carparks in Block 642 Punggol Drive and Block 984 Buangkok Link were identified for the pilot as they are sheltered and near residents' homes.

They also have under-utilised top decks, the agencies added.

Operations at the courier hubs are limited to 9am to 6pm daily, and the four designated lots in each carpark can be used for regular parking outside of these hours.

The companies are required to keep noise to a minimum and observe safe management measures when using the lots.

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