Warkworth’s courier drivers have been the driving force of shopping under lockdown, with households buying up large online and local businesses turning to e-commerce to stay afloat.
Warkworth Rural Delivery One (RD1) operator Fran Beazley says her life completely changed after lockdown began.
She has been working 12-hour days on her run from west Warkworth to West Coast Road.
“It’s just lucky it has been daylight savings because I wouldn’t want to be delivering in the dark,” she says.
Fran has been heartened by households showing their appreciation by leaving cards with kind messages and sometimes even chocolates.
“It’s the small things that really make a difference when you’re under this much pressure. You just have to focus on the good.”
RD4 operator Jessie Sutton broke the Warkworth postal depot record this month for delivering 10,000 parcels in a single day.
She has hired another person to assist with deliveries, but is still working six days a week on her run from south west Warkworth to Kaukapakapa.
Delivery drivers have been wearing masks and dropping parcels at the front door. Jessie says she misses being able to catch up with regular customers, but still enjoys being able to make people’s day by delivering their parcels.
“I saw a grown man jumping and clapping because he received his Starlink satellite internet box and could finally get connected,” she says.
Both Fran and Jessie hope that they will get a break before Christmas, but are not expecting one. Jessie says the
Christmas rush usually begins around now, but she has been at Christmas volumes of parcels for two months already.
Adam Waterhouse’s courier business in Snells Beach, A2 Logistics, has been delivering around 20 per cent more parcels than usual, which has offset low volumes in the freight side of his business.
He says courier drivers are struggling because where they would typically deliver high volumes of parcels to a single retail destination, they are now responsible for household delivery.
Adam has encouraged local businesses to keep trading by going online and was even delivering hay bales for a farming supply store at one point. A2 has also been responsible for delivering beer for most of the breweries in area as well as two oyster farms.
Adam co-founded the business with a friend in 2006 “as a hobby” but it has grown to have seven delivery vans in north and west Auckland, as well as freight operations.
Meanwhile, New Zealand Post is hiring around 1000 new staff to deliver parcels nationally. It says it is delivering 2 million parcels a week – four parcels a second.
NZ Post’s parcel volumes have been up by around 50 per cent in Auckland and 25 per cent in the rest of the country since lockdown.