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IMDA to roll out full parcel locker network by end-2021

A NATIONWIDE network of parcel lockers slated to be fully rolled out by end-2022 will be ready one year ahead of schedule, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced on Friday.

The acceleration comes as the rise in e-commerce shopping and greater reliance on delivery solutions during the Covid-19 pandemic have made clear the need for such a solution, Minister for Communications and Information S Iswaran shared in a virtual dialogue session with logistics and e-commerce industry players.

The first batch of 200 stations will be rolled out in Q1 2021, targeted at high footfall areas across the island.

A pilot programme last year with 70 locker stations in Bukit Panjang and Punggol yielded significant productivity gains for companies that participated, with SingPost reporting that it was able to make three to four times more deliveries per hour.

"We see this as a key piece of infrastructure that will enable the efficiency and productivity gains that we want to have in the logistics sector," said Mr Iswaran.

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IMDA has incorporated a wholly-owned subsidiary, Pick Network, to deploy, own and operate the locker network.

Pick will be responsible for working with stakeholders to identify suitable sites for the locker stations, ensuring that logistics service providers have fair and open access to the network, and engaging with industry stakeholders and consumers to raise awareness and use of the network.

The lockers will be located in nodes with high footfall within the community, with the goal of having a Pick station within five minutes' walk for every household.

Said Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information: "We have letterboxes as public infrastructure for letter mail. With e-commerce coming in and changing the landscape significantly, we need to update the infrastructure that can serve this particular service.

"(This model) will allow for open access by all our logistics service providers and allow for us to gain as much support as possible from e-commerce platforms."

She added that commercial parcel locker solutions are concentrated on places with high footfall, and IMDA's system aims to fill in the gaps to achieve widespread coverage through a "happy overlap" of the networks.

IMDA published a tender for the supply, delivery, installation, support and maintenance of the locker network on June 7, and it will close on July 20.

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