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Australia Post customers vent fury over strange parcel routes - why is it happening?

Australia Post customers have been taking to social media to highlight the unusual routes their parcels are taking before delivery. But why is it happening?

Writing in the Australia Post Complaints Facebook group, one customer said a parcel took two weeks to get to its destination, which is only 10 kilometres from the sending point.

“We ordered a little thing from Sydney. The parcel was sent to Brisbane, back to Sydney and later to Melbourne, then to Brisbane and back to Sydney,” the customer said.

“It's been over 2 weeks and the parcel is still on the way travelling many thousands of kilometres.”

Australia Post contractor loading mail into a bag from a mailbox, Australia Post van in background
Australia Post customers have been left scratching their heads after their parcels appeared to travel interstate before delivery. Source: Getty Images

Back in October, Australia Post’s Executive General Manager told ABC broadcasters that parcel rerouting was largely due to border closures.

"We were routing parcels to Sydney because we could process them down to a postie level, or to a postcode, get them back to Melbourne and then out," Mr Starr said.

"And it was actually quicker doing that when Melbourne was so under pressure with those Stage 4 restrictions."

However, it appears that local disruptions including widespread flooding across Australia’s Eastern coast may now be to blame.

Side-by-side image. Left: House and letterbox inundated with flood water. Right: Water Over Road sign.
Many houses have been left inaccessible to posties during the floods. Source: Getty Images

"Occasionally a parcel may take an alternative route to get to its destination and this can be for a range of reasons, such as local disruptions and road closures right through to natural disasters," an Australia Post spokesperson told Yahoo News.

“These decisions are made to ensure the parcel is delivered as safely and efficiently as possible.

“Customers can stay up to date with where their parcel is via the Australia Post app, and customers with concerns about their deliveries are encouraged to get in touch with us at,” the spokesperson said.

Australia Post’s Domestic Service Updates website also highlights 74 Queensland and New South Wales postcodes experiencing service delays due to the floods.

Postie offers explanation for tracking gripe

A postman has also taken to the Australia Post Complaints Facebook group to explain a little known fact about parcel tracking.

According to the postie, individual parcels may be shown to be travelling long distances due to a common sorting process.

“Your parcel is not travelling the country, the container your parcel was sorted into is travelling the country,” he said.

“Each container, known as a ULD, has a unique QR code attached. When your parcel is sorted by a machine, your tracking number becomes associated with that one specific ULD.

“It simply means that the ULD that was initially assigned to ship your item has been used to move other items to a different area.

“Watching the movements of a code attached to a ULD (that could potentially hold between 10 or 200 items) is not evidence that your parcel is going on a holiday.”

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