Aramex couriers overwhelmed by lockdown demand, customers lash out online

Aramex couriers are under fire during the pandemic as online shopping grows creating more deliveries.
Aramex couriers are under fire during the pandemic as online shopping grows creating more deliveries. Photo credit: Getty

Courier service Aramex is under fire for long delivery times, missing parcels and poor communication.

During New Zealand's lockdown, many courier companies have been overwhelmed with deliveries as Kiwis shop online instead of in-store.

But Aramex, formerly known as Fastway Couriers, appears to be significantly behind with customers claiming to wait over three weeks for deliveries.

Over 100 people have now taken to the company's Facebook page to complain, saying their calls and emails are going unanswered.

"I have sent a parcel with three orchids which was picked up on the 30th of April. It still has not arrived. I have made an online enquiry and sent emails to you, no reply either. These plants are going to die. I have been using Fastway for over 13 years. Never have I experienced such bad communication. I feel very disappointed," one customer wrote.

"Hey Aramex NZ instead of updating your Facebook page with updates we all know can you please answer emails, phone calls, Facebook messenger enquiries it's simple, keep your customers updated with tracking and an estimated delivery date," another says.

Customers say the phone lines are jammed and have been waiting on hold for up to three hours as they wait to find out where their parcels are.

Others have said how it would have been easier to pick them up themselves.

"Two weeks later and still no contact or sign of my parcel. The parcel was being sent from Auckland to Wellington. In the time since I placed the order, I've driven from Hamilton to Wellington and back....twice myself," one person wrote.

Another said: "16 days from Auckland to Hamilton and still waiting with no response to my enquiries or PMs on Facebook. I could have walked there and back in that time".

Chief Executive Officer Scott Jenyns says they are experiencing unprecedented deliveries and trying to keep up.

"We have had the equivalent of four Christmas delivery periods come within a very short time frame and our teams across New Zealand have been working around the clock," he says.

"Just prior to Level 3 many local businesses transformed themselves into e-commerce businesses, selling to existing and new customers online and this has put the entire delivery network under huge pressure. There is significant pressure on the rural delivery network which we play a part role and don't have control of."

He says Aramex are putting in new measures to keep up with demand.

"We are not operating in a 'business as usual' situation, there's been a huge increase in parcel volumes and at the same time we have had to set up our depot facilities adhering to the COVID-19 physical distancing requirements, so this means fewer people. 

"We have been very public about the delays in the network while at the same time opening new depots in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and undertaking a major recruitment drive for new courier drivers for our Blu Courier service, which enables us to train courier drivers quickly."

He says they expect it to ease off under alert level 2, which will help to clear the backlogs of parcels.

On Thursday the Government also announced more funding for postal services as part of their $50 billion 2020 Budget.

New Zealand Post will receive $130 million and an equity injection of $150 million to "deliver a postal service in the face of challenges presented by a changing mail environment and the COVID-19 pandemic".

"COVID-19 has demonstrated how important our postal service is. During lockdown many New Zealanders and businesses relied on the services New Zealand Post provides," associate minister for state-owned enterprises Shane Jones said.

"We have now reached the point where it is no longer commercially viable for New Zealand Post to maintain current service levels and it needs Government support."

Jones says many businesses have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and unfortunately New Zealand Post is one of them.

"Posties and couriers have been one of the most visible symbols of our response to the pandemic. As an essential service, they worked through lockdown and have continued to work tirelessly as level 3 saw a massive increase in demand for e-commerce."

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