How COVID-19 Affected Delivery Times in Canada

Nov 11, 2020

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On March 13, Canada’s parliament announced that the country will shut its doors for 5 weeks. Shortly after on March 16, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, announced that the country would implement new entry restrictions on travelers. 

This week, we looked into the effects of COVID-19 on Canada’s logistics performance namely transit time to first delivery attempt and the success rate of said delivery attempt for domestic parcels over the past 10 months. 

Here’s what we found: 

During the initial outbreak, transit time to the first attempt increased by 124% from 3.3 days to 7.5 days (March to May 2020)

This increase in average transit time was likely attributed to the pandemic-driven e-commerce spike, and the capacity crunch logistics carriers were experiencing during the lockdown.  

With the country going into lockdown and the closure of physical stores, Canada Post reportedly experienced “Christmas-level” parcel volumes as e-commerce demand surged. They took additional measures to meet this demand spike-like hiring temporary employees to provide additional manpower.

“We saw parcel levels that we would normally only see around Christmas — we would deliver up to two-million parcels in one day — that’s what we would see around Cyber Monday, Black Friday week sales,” says Jon Hamilton, spokesperson for Canada Post.

Amid the spike in e-commerce deliveries, the safety measures implemented due to COVID-19 had also set the logistics industry up for a challenge. Many customers were affected by delivery delays thanks to social distancing and grounded flights measures logistics carriers had to take to ensure safe operations. In response, Canada Post had advised its customers to remain patient while waiting for their parcels

Signs of recovery seen in later months, with transit time to first attempt dipping by 50% from 7.5 days to 3.7 days (May to July 2020)

In May and June, we see positive signs of transit times approaching normalization. Logistics carriers seemed to have adapted relatively well to these new circumstances, and consumers appear to be shifting back to shopping in-stores

Notably, retail e-commerce sales in June were lesser than in May as more physical stores and non-essential businesses opened up. Overall retail sales, however, have grown from April and even reaching pre-pandemic levels. 

The success rate for first attempt deliveries averaged at 85% from March to May

Compared to 2019’s average success rate of  81%, the average success rate of 85% from March to May this year is a marked improvement. With more people in Canada encouraged to stay home, this would have minimized the possibility of missed deliveries. 

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