Maltapost said that its operations have not yet gone bak to normal because, among other things, commercial flights have been reduced by half, while online shopping has increased and there has been an accumulation of mail from three European countries. Maltapost said that 90% of the Government vouchers have been distributed and the rest are being collected from branches outside of which one can see long queues especially in areas where a lot of foreigners live.
The pandemic has not been kind to anyone and it has also affected every sector of the economy, including the traditional delivery of mail and packages which Maltapost said have increased because more people are shopping online. The head of operations at Maltapost, Adrian Vassallo told TVM that post offices around the world, including Malta use passenger flights to deliver postal items, and despite the fact that the airport re-opened around six weeks ago, there are still 60% less flights when compared to the same period last year. He said that because of COVID, between mid-March until the beginning of July, there were only flights from three countries – the UK, Germany and the Netherlands – at a much reduced frequency. “Therefore the post was piling up at these airports and this accumulation of post is now being recovered slowly since the airport re-opened at the beginning of July, but the accumulation was so great that although some countries like the UK have regular flights, they are also using trucks to carry out their deliveries.”
Mr Vassallo said that even Italy has begun sending post by trucks while the post from China is being sent by sea because of the complaints of delays by Maltese consumers. He added that certain Chinese websites are using fictitious tracking. “We wrote to these couriers and even the websites concerned and we even had those who replied to us and told us that it is true that the tracking which shows that the parcel is in Malta would not really be here but would be in a transition country.”
Over the last few weeks, Maltapost was responsbile for distributing the €100 Government vouchers. These were distributed to 440,000 people by registred post. On social media there was a series of complaints especially by foreign residents who complained that they had not received them and instead they found a notice to go collect it from the nearest post office where over the last few days, there were very long queues.
Questioned about this, Mr Vassallo said that the large crowds outside of the branches were mostly at St Paul’s Bay, Msida and Sliema where there is a large concentration of foreign residents and when the postal worker went with the vouchers he either did not find the doorbell or else the residents were not at home.
“We had complaints that the postal workers did not knock the door in certain streets, for example and when we checked we found that the postman had distributed 70 or 80% of the vouchers”. Maltapost said that the distribution was carried out by more than 250 postal workers and that 90% of the vouchers were distributed and the rest need to be collected from its branches.