SingPost to introduce new rates, end doorstep delivery for small packages from Dec 2

Currently, mail items between 501g and 2kg can be sent domestically as ordinary mail. SingPost will be replacing this option with two new categories: basic package and tracked package.
Currently, mail items between 501g and 2kg can be sent domestically as ordinary mail. SingPost will be replacing this option with two new categories: basic package and tracked package. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - SingPost customers who take advantage of low basic postal rates to send small packages domestically will soon have to pay more to do so, 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 on Wednesday (Oct 30).

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 delivery progress tracking 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 must 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 company has been reviewing its operations since being 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 be renamed Registered Service (Singapore) and accept only letters and printed papers up to 500g.

"This is to realign the intent of the service, originally designed to offer secure delivery and tracked receipt of important letters and documents," SingPost said, adding that customers have been using it to send packages, which has put a strain on the service.

Customers sending heavier items may consider using the tracked package service for letterbox deliveries or Speedpost courier services for doorstep deliveries, a spokesman said.

Higher international airmail rates

Separately, international airmail rates will also be be going up to account for rising rates charged by foreign postal operators to SingPost, which 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 revised to $3.60, up from the current $2.50, in addition to the applicable postage fees.

These rate revisions will be paid to postal operators of destination countries, in response to the increase in charges for their delivery of postal items from Singapore.

All changes will take effect on Dec 2.

SingPost's Singapore head and chief executive of postal services Vincent Phang said in a statement that 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.

The new services are the "natural next steps in the transformation of Singapore's postal services", said Mr Phang.

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 in a statement on Wednesday that it approved SingPost’s proposal to revise its international mail rates to account for the increased charges imposed by overseas postal operators.

It noted that SingPost made a commercial decision to streamline its package services, and said it will closely monitor feedback and ensure that reliable postal services at competitive prices continue to be offered.

“IMDA is also looking into longer-term solutions to strengthen Singapore’s postal and urban logistics ecosystem,” a spokesman said.

Marketing executive Tina Lim, who occassionally buys items from local blogshops that are delivered through SingPost, said she does not mind paying a little more for delivery if it means better reliability. 

Said Ms Lim, 34: “If my package can’t fit in the letterbox, it would be less troublesome to pick it up from a POPStation than have to queue at a post office though.”