How do couriers and the Polish Post work during the coronavirus pandemic? Carriers publish updates about the changes in their functioning daily, given the suspended or closed areas for international shipments in some countries. In this article, we collect the most important information you need to know.
Coronavirus: general changes
Courier companies quickly introduced many solutions designed to reduce or even eliminate direct contact between employees and customers. These are, among others:
No need to sign documents when collecting the package:
- Leaving the package under the door – the courier first contacts the recipient and confirms this form of delivery;
- Cashless payments;
- Closing or limiting the opening hours of stationary outlets.
- Some companies equip couriers with face masks and gloves.
Due to government restrictions (red zones, prohibited areas), pickups and deliveries have been suspended in some areas of the world. In this case, the packages are returned to the sender. Below is a list of relevant countries or cities:
- Hong Kong (On March 18, 2020, the Hong Kong Post announced that it is returning to processing all of the inbound and outbound shipments, including letter items, parcels, and EMS)
- Northern Italy, including the following cities: Casalpusterlengo, Bertonico, Castiglione D’Adda, Terranova Dei Passerini, Castelgerundo, Codogno, Maleo, San Fiorano, Fombio and Somaglia
- Spain: Igualada, Santa Margarida de Montbui, Odena, Sant Marti de Tous, Vilanova del Cami
Coronavirus: how couriers and mail work
#1 The Polish Post – coronavirus-related measures
The Polish Post (Poczta Polska) has stopped accepting international shipments due to the suspension of air transport. It also changed the rules of functioning of post offices. On business days, post offices will remain open only for six hours. On selected days, they will be open between 14:00-20:00 or, interchangeably, for three hours on Saturday.
The customer service points in shopping malls will be closed.
In addition to the traditional form of delivery, all registered, parcel, and courier letter items (except for items with return documents) can be picked up without a receipt. In this case, all you need to do is present an identity document, e.g., an ID card, passport, driving license to the employee of Poczta Polska from a secure distance. The employee will write down the last 4 digits of the number of the document being verified.
#2 DHL – coronavirus-related measures
DHL continues to provide parcel services in most areas in Europe. Only selected areas or services are excluded, including:
- some areas of Italy and Spain (see above),
- parcels with payment collections services (COD) to Slovakia,
- delivery of parcels directed to companies in Austria.
Due to border controls, recipients should expect extended transport times for international shipments.
[March 27, 2020 update] Areas excluded from DHL services are:
- Portugal (3880, 3885),
- Bulgaria (2770 Bansko),
- the maximum size of shipments sent to and from France is reduced to 60x60x60 cm.
More information: https://www.dhlparcel.pl/pl/koronawirus.html
#3 UPS – operation in connection to COVID-19
UPS informed its customers about the continuity of provided services while excluding or limiting services in areas covered by special rules:
Deliveries were suspended on Saturday. Packages will be stored for 15 days.
In some areas, deliveries and returns have been suspended (see above) or will be delayed.
Austria, France, and Germany:
Receipts and deliveries have changed (may be delayed) in some areas of these countries.
More information: https://www.ups.com/pl/pl/about/news/important-updates.page?
#4 InPost – changes related to coronavirus
At present, the coronavirus outbreak does not affect the delivery of InPost shipments. First of all, the carrier encourages the use of parcel machines, and when receiving a shipment, taking precautionary measures that include appropriate spacing.
A system of receiving courier parcels based on a pickup code has been implemented to eliminate the need to leave a signature at the courier terminal.
Service points located at InPost Branches have also been limited.
[March 27, 2020 update] InPost informed its customers about the suspension of the “ROD” service (Return of Confirmed Documents) for InPost Kurier shipments. Shipments sent with this service before the change is implemented will be delivered in the standard way.
#5 DPD – information on coronavirus
Extended (1-2 days) transport time of export shipments is expected due to border controls across Europe. Transport and delivery in Poland are carried out according to the existing rules.
DPD introduced changes in Saturday services, as well as during the opening hours of stationary points and reception in branches.
[March 27, 2020 update] DPD informed that from Monday 30.03.2020, the shipment of parcels outside the European Union would be resumed. Parcels to EU countries are accepted as regular. This applies to the DPD EXPRESS service (air shipments).
The carrier also provided a list of exclusions and suspensions of the international wheeled service, available for download here: https://wwwdpd.azureedge.net/zip-codes.xlsx
#6 FedEx – changes in operation due to COVID-19
FedEx informed about the possible impact of coronavirus on service, i.e., delays, also in Europe.
The company applies precautionary measures that consist of limiting contact, e.g., by changing the method of confirming the receipt of a parcel on courier scanners, which allows customers to avoid direct contact with the device.
In connection with the recommendations of remote work for employees, FedEx temporarily suspended the possibility of telephone contact with consultants.
More information: https://www.fedex.com/pl-pl/service-news.html
#7 GLS – information about coronavirus
Domestic and international GLS shipments are currently unchanged, excluding some postal codes in Italy and Austria.
The company has also introduced changes in services that are supposed to increase security, e.g., a ban on passing scanners when signing, pens, and other items during posting and delivery processes. GLS has equipped couriers with disinfectants and guidelines to protect them against infection.
[March 27, 2020 update] GLS informed about the changes in international shipments addressed to corporate recipients, carried out by a local Parcel Force supplier in the United Kingdom. The change concerns the case when the courier tries to deliver the package to a business recipient closed due to the pandemic. In this case, the package is immediately returned to the sender.