Feedback sought on proposal to expand IMDA's powers ahead of parcel network roll-out

Existing parcel lockers run by private sector operators are largely concentrated in commercial areas with high footfall. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The authorities are seeking feedback on proposed changes to the law that would empower the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to install and manage the nationwide parcel locker network ahead of its planned roll-out next year, as well as set out rules relating to its use.

The suggested amendments to the Postal Services Act would allow the IMDA to spell out offences, enforce the new rules and require building owners and developers to provide space for the lockers, among other things.

This will support the transformation of Singapore's last-mile parcel delivery infrastructure amid a growth in e-commerce and declining mail volumes, the IMDA and Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) said in a statement on Wednesday (Dec 2).

The IMDA announced in July that it would be accelerating the roll-out of the parcel locker network by a year, with 1,000 locker stations to be deployed across the island by the end of 2021.

Lockers in public residential areas will be located within a five minute walk or 250m of residents' homes and complement existing letterboxes.

The proposed changes to the law would expand the postal regulator's oversight to include the parcel locker network.

This would allow the IMDA to install, own and operate the network at specified places, including common areas in housing estates, public transport facilities and community centres.

The provision, maintenance and access to these spaces is intended to be provided at the owner or developer's own expense, the authorities said in a public consultation paper published on Wednesday.

Necessary spaces must be able to be secured and accessed for installation and maintenance to ensure residents benefit from having public parcel lockers near their homes, the IMDA and MCI said.

Existing parcel lockers run by private sector operators are largely concentrated in commercial areas with high footfall, leaving most parts of the residential market underserved, they added.

The new rules would also allow the IMDA to specify offences relating to the use of the network and provide it with enforcement powers.

This would include the power to investigate any unsafe use of the network, such as the placing of objects in public parcel lockers which are contrary to public safety and security, the authorities said.

Such items may also be detained and examined, similar to rules governing the postal service.

The IMDA said earlier this year that it would be incorporating a wholly-owned subsidiary, Pick Network, to deploy and operate the locker network.

Pick will ensure a fair allocation of lockers to competing logistics service providers, the authorities said.

In September, the IMDA awarded a tender for the supply, delivery, installation, support and maintenance of the parcel locker network to ST Electronics (Info-Comm Systems) and Panasonic Asia Pacific.

The two firms beat out 13 other bidders, including Singapore Post.

Those who wish to give feedback on the proposed amendments to the Postal Services Act may do so by e-mailing before 6pm on Dec 23.

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