Australia Post deploys door-to-door A-double

National parcel carrier, Australia Post, has introduced a new A-double into its linehaul operations.

Pulled by a 540 horsepower rated Volvo FH, the A-double combination is running direct from its Sunshine depot in Victoria to its Sydney Parcels Bulk Lodgement facility in Chullora.

The new combination, which has an approved payload of 68.5 tonnes under the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s Intelligence Access Program, features BPW ABS-EBS on the trailer set.

The Performance-Based Standards (PBS) approved A-double, according to Australia Post Head of Fleet & Equipment, Terry Bickerton, is unique as it runs direct up the Hume Highway door to door.

“This provides greater volumes of parcels directly to the facilities,” he said. “It’s being used for loose load parcels as part of the increased demand for freight driven by online purchasing.”

It went into operation officially on 21 January after 12 months of careful evaluation.

“It has provided us with valuable information around loading, unloading, vehicle types and changeover areas,” said Australia Post General Manager of Networks, James Dixon.

More A-double sets are already in production for Australia Post.

The company has been running a high performance freight vehicle from its Dandenong facility in Melbourne to the wharf for some time.

“Having PBS approval on the latest combination is a great adjunct to that,” said Bickerton. “The next one we’re looking at running from Melbourne to Brisbane.”

In related news, the company delivered more than 52 million parcels during December 2020 which was an increase of almost 20 per cent on the previous year.

It was also the company’s biggest month to date in its 211 years of operation.

The strong growth in online continued into December, with 19 days for the month where more than two million parcels were delivered across the country. During the month over 21 million customers were also served at Australia Post’s more than 4,000 Post Offices, including regional and remote locations.

Making use of up to 20 dedicated freighters and additional cargo space on limited domestic passenger flights, Australia Post uplifted more than 7,400 tonnes of airfreight, up 76 per cent when compared to the same month last year, including more than 490 tonnes on the busiest night.

Acting Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Rodney Boys, said while the organisation had predicted it would be Australia Post’s busiest Christmas ever, it exceeded expectations.

“There is no denying that online shopping grew strongly through 2020, and this reached a new level in December as millions of people chose to buy their Christmas gifts online,” said Boys.

“Ongoing Covid-19 restrictions, social distancing and reduced domestic flights coupled with significantly higher parcel volumes, meant that delivering Christmas 2020 for all Australians was always going to be incredibly challenging.

“We prepared extensively, opening 60 new or re-purposed facilities, adding 3000 vehicles and putting on additional dedicated planes, all to keep delivering for our customers. 2700 posties undertook additional training with over 2000 transitioning to deliver parcels in vans and an extra 5000 people were recruited.

“These results were only made possible through the absolute commitment and dedication of our incredible team and our licensed post office and delivery contractor partners across the country that worked tirelessly under difficult circumstances for their communities to deliver a truly phenomenal Christmas,” he said.

In December, online shopping growth, according to Australia Post, was up more than 42 per cent for the four days to Cyber Monday compared to the same period in 2019.

“Australia Post staff should be congratulated for the way they have risen to the challenge of unprecedented demand and delivered a record 52 million parcels during December,” said Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher.

“This was in part made possible as a result of the regulatory relief approved by the Morrison Government in 2020, which allowed Australia Post more operational flexibility to meet community demand for parcels and essential services.”

Parcels volumes were buoyed in December as Australians bought up big on food and liquor, fashion, and home and garden products up 50 per cent, 37 per cent and 36 per cent respectively compared to December 2019. Fashion accessories, adventure and sporting items and books also proved popular with strong growth compared to November.