SingPost fined $300k for not meeting service standards in 2018

SingPost had 20 incidents of non-compliance last year, compared with nine in 2017. SingPost said it is conducting a comprehensive and fundamental review of its postal operations. The review will include the use of new technologies to raise reliabilit
SingPost had 20 incidents of non-compliance last year, compared with nine in 2017. SingPost said it is conducting a comprehensive and fundamental review of its postal operations. The review will include the use of new technologies to raise reliability and service standards.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SingPost has been fined $300,000 for failing to meet standards for mail delivery last year, the highest fine imposed on it to date.

This is triple the penalty the postal service provider was handed last month for also failing to meet regulatory standards in 2017.

SingPost had 20 incidents of non-compliance last year, compared with nine in 2017, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) said in a statement yesterday.

There were also repeated failures last year - some of which involved lost letters - and this was taken into account when determining the fine, it added.

Investigations of a case involving a postman who discarded mail meant for residents of Reflections at Keppel Bay last year have also been completed, IMDA said.

China national Liu Zhengang, who was sacked last year after a video catching him in the act surfaced, has been found to be in breach of the Postal Services Act and barred from employment in Singapore.

He has returned to China and will be arrested if he returns to Singapore, the regulator said, adding that it reserves the right to prosecute him.

An advisory has also been issued to SingPost to remind it of its obligations to safeguard mail integrity and security, and to train and educate its staff to perform their task properly, IMDA said.

Another postman was arrested in January when unopened letters and packages meant for Ang Mo Kio residents were found discarded in a rubbish bin.

The Straits Times understands that IMDA's investigations into the incident are still ongoing.

Under the Postal Quality of Service standards, SingPost is required to deliver between 98 per cent and 99 per cent of local basic letters within one working day, and 100 per cent within two working days.

It failed to complete these deliveries by the second working day over nine months last year. SingPost also did not deliver 100 per cent of registered basic letters by the second working day over four months.

In addition, it failed the requirement of delivering international incoming basic letters within the Central Business District by the next working day for three months last year.

IMDA noted, however, that the failure margins last year were generally lower on average compared with 2017, and SingPost has implemented measures to address service issues, including hiring more postmen and extending delivery slots for basic mail parcels to weekday evenings and on Saturdays.

SingPost said in response to queries that it accepts the finan-cial penalty. It is conducting a "comprehensive and fundamental review of... postal operations", in addition to the recent measures, a spokesman said.

The review will include the use of new technologies to raise reliability and service standards.

"We are confident that service quality will improve going forward," SingPost said.

The postal service provider has come under fire in recent months for a series of high-profile delivery incidents.

It said last month that a surge in e-commerce volumes had challenged the postal delivery network and led to heavier loads for postmen.

SingPost has vowed to relook the role and responsibilities of its postmen and raise service standards in the short term.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2019, with the headline 'SingPost fined $300k for not meeting service standards in 2018'. Print Edition | Subscribe