SingPost customers who take advantage of low basic postal rates to send small packages domestically will soon have to pay more, as the postal service provider revises its services to cope with the e-commerce boom.
From Dec 2, only letters and printed papers weighing up to 500g will be accepted under a new basic mail category that will replace ordinary mail, SingPost said in a statement yesterday.
Postage rates for such mail will remain unchanged at between 30 cents and $1.70, depending on weight and size.
Currently, mail items between 501g and 2kg can be sent domestically as ordinary mail, costing up to $3.35 for a 2kg item.
SingPost will be replacing this option with two new categories: basic package and tracked package.
Basic packages of up to 2kg will cost between 90 cents and $3.50, while tracked packages will be priced between $3.20 and $4.80 and offer tracking of the delivery as well as notifications for the recipient.
Doorstep deliveries for packages sent through SingPost will effectively cease from Dec 2, as all items sent through these services will be delivered to recipients' letterboxes.
Currently, ordinary mail items including parcels under 2kg are delivered to recipients' letterboxes. However, the postman has to make a doorstep delivery if an item cannot fit into a letterbox because it is too large or the box is cluttered.
International postal standards allow for packages that are larger than letterboxes here to be sent through the postal system. Under the new package delivery services, parcels sent through SingPost must meet maximum dimensions that allow them to fit into letterboxes.
Items that cannot fit into a letterbox have to be collected from a post office.
SingPost said the changes are aimed at streamlining the definitions of mail and package items, and increasing efficiency.
The firm was fined $400,000 earlier this year for failing to meet government delivery standards over the last two years. It said a surge in e-commerce volumes had strained the mail system and led to heavier loads and more doorstep deliveries for postmen.
The domestic registered article service, which provides additional security by requiring the recipient's signature, will also accept only letters and printed papers up to 500g.
Customers sending heavier items may consider using the tracked package service for letterbox deliveries or Speedpost courier services for doorstep deliveries, SingPost said.
Separately, international airmail rates will be raised to account for rising rates charged by foreign postal operators for the delivery of postal items from Singapore.
SingPost said it has been absorbing yearly increases since 2014.
Airmail rates for letters, printed papers and postcards will increase by 20 cents for deliveries to Malaysia and Brunei, and by 10 cents to all other countries. The Registered Service (International) fee will also be increased to $3.60, up from $2.50.
All changes will take effect on Dec 2.
In a statement, SingPost's Singapore head and chief executive of postal services Vincent Phang said the changes follow a thorough review of postal operations. "Among the numerous feedback received, tracking and letterbox deliveries were preferred by customers as compared to waiting at home for doorstep deliveries," he said.
Associate Professor Lawrence Loh from the National University of Singapore Business School said the separation of SingPost's parcel and letter services is overdue.
Best service standards for traditional mail should not be compromised by issues that arise from packages, he said, adding: "Indeed, this is a loophole that has to be addressed."
The Infocomm Media Development Authority, which administers the Postal Services Act, said it will monitor feedback and ensure SingPost continues to offer reliable postal services at competitive prices.
"IMDA is also looking into longer-term solutions to strengthen Singapore's postal and urban logistics ecosystem," its spokesman said.