Low delivery rates can affect livelihoods of riders

by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – The COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting many individuals who have lost their jobs or taken salary cuts, with many opting to become delivery riders either part time or full time in tandem with the e-commerce boom.

Changes in the industry landscape and consumer behaviour have driven industry players to rely on independent delivery partners or gig economy workers for delivery services, which offer commission-based remuneration.

Even though there are 109 courier options employing thousands of people to be part of the growing gig economy, there has yet to be a floor pricing set which may affect not only the service levels but also the future of the workers.

A Pos Malaysia Bhd spokesperson said courier services were forced to compete with unrealistic pricing  due to the absence of floor pricing, and this would directly affect the livelihoods of their delivery employees.

“Without sufficient resources, industry players will not be able to invest in new technologies and sustain their business, and this would lead to players sacrificing on service quality,” he said in an interview with Bernama.

It is important to note that with lower price point, most courier players were unable to cover costs and provide a reasonable income to their riders to service their vehicles and pay for fuel, as well as maintain a stable livelihood, thus, leading to financial distress among them.

In terms of digitising the process to ensure safe and timely deliveries, especially during a shopping season, he said Pos Malaysia has equipped 15 distribution centres with semi-automated sorting systems to scale up capacity and efficiency, bringing the total to 33 semi-automated centres to date.

“During a peak season, with the staggering volume could reach up to over 800,000 parcels a day, the services of support employees are needed to help increase backend sorting resources, and to ensure deliveries can be carried out as soon as possible,” he said.

In terms of salary range, Pos Malaysia delivery personnel earn between RM2,000 and RM3,000 a month, including allowance and overtime.

“On top of their salary, Pos Malaysia provides health insurance coverage for them, including for their family.

“For Pos Riders delivery partners (outsourcing and entrepreneurship programme), they are able to earn RM7,000 to RM8,000 in commission per month,” he said.

As at January this year, the national courier employs about 18,000 employees with 7,000 full-time delivery personnel and more than 1,800 Pos Rider delivery partners.

Unlike other courier companies, he said Pos Malaysia is the country’s national mail and courier service provider with the obligation to serve the postal needs of the nation.

“We also provide mail coverage to over nine million addresses nationwide, an obligation under the Universal Service Obligation (USO). No other courier services are tied to the USO,” he said.