Postal Services Act amended to facilitate roll-out of 1,000 parcel locker stations

SINGAPORE is a step closer to the rollout of 1,000 parcel locker stations islandwide to support e-commerce delivery, after amendments to the Postal Services Act (PSA) were passed in Parliament on Monday.

The PSA was updated to allow the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), as the appointed postal authority, to establish, install, operate and maintain the locker network, which will comprise 1,000 locker stations by end-2021. The stations will be located at areas such as HDB estates, public transport nodes, and community centres and clubs managed by the People's Association.

The PSA amendments also provide IMDA with enforcement powers to ensure the safe use and operation of the network.

Last July, IMDA announced that its subsidiary Pick Network will deploy, own and operate the locker network, which will place locker stations within a five-minute walk of HDB blocks.

"This will ensure the neutrality of the network, and also allow it to be freely accessible to the industry and all consumers," Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Sim Ann said in Parliament on Monday.

In March this year, Ms Sim told Parliament that the trials for the nationwide parcel locker network have received "overwhelmingly positive" feedback from close to 10,000 residents.

As BT reported then, IMDA's effort had raised some concerns among industry players about whether demand for the lockers can hit adequate scale, given that consumers are used to doorstep delivery.

In IMDA's press release on Monday, a spokesperson for Qoo10 said: "While we are cautiously optimistic, we believe that online shoppers will eventually warm up to the additional convenience of having them."

Fellow industry players J&T Express, Ninja Van and parcel locker operator Parcel Santa similarly expressed support for the parcel network.

Separately, the PSA was also amended to allow delivery service providers and online merchants to deliver small packets and other non-letters into letterboxes via SingPost, the public postal licensee. Other postal licensees may also tap this infrastructure. This will "further facilitate competition in last-mile delivery services", IMDA said.

Robin Goh, chief brand and communications officer at SingPost, said that the PSA amendments are "very timely", given the growth in e-commerce volumes following Covid-19.

"As Singapore's national postal service provider, SingPost looks forward to working with IMDA and the industry to bring an unprecedented level of convenience and accessibility to residents, and further Singapore's Smart Nation cause," he said.

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