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Let’s discuss making home deliveries easier

This week’s featured article

DAISUKE KIKUCHI, THE JAPAN TIMES

Amid its annual shuntō spring wage negotiations, major courier firm Yamato Transport Co. said Wednesday it may seek to implement measures to ease burdens placed on delivery drivers to improve working conditions.

Under consideration is a plan that would eliminate one of the time slots in which parcels are delivered. Currently, there are six such periods: before noon, noon to 2 p.m., 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Reports say the firm may drop the noon to 2 p.m. option to allow drivers to take lunch breaks.

However, Momoko Ikeda, a company spokeswoman, stressed that the idea has yet to be discussed.

Ikeda said making improvements is necessary, especially for drivers, since delivery numbers are skyrocketing due to the growing popularity of purchases from e-commerce sites.

Although major rival Sagawa Express Co. cut its contract with Amazon Japan G.K. in 2013, Yamato Transport said it has no plans to follow suit.

The total number of parcels Yamato Transport expects to handle in the fiscal year ending in March is set to reach a record high. With an 8 percent rise from the previous year, the firm’s roughly 60,000 drivers are estimated to have made 1.87 billion deliveries during the period.

On top of the large number of normal deliveries, drivers must also cope with redeliveries.

According to a 2015 report from the transport ministry on the social impact of redeliveries, about 20 percent of home deliveries fail on the first attempt.

To combat the situation, Yamato Transport in 2016 invested in a venture called Packcity Japan Co. to set up parcel lockers in public areas, including train stations.

The lockers allow registered customers to pick up packages at their convenience.

Meanwhile, the government is also making moves to bring parcel lockers into the mainstream.

Starting in April, the Environment Ministry will cover half of the cost of setting up the lockers. The current price tag is roughly ¥2 million to ¥3 million per location.

First published in The Japan Times on March 2.

Warm up

One-minute chat about shopping.

Game

Collect words related to work, e.g., balance, rest, employment.

New words

1) implement: carry out or put into effect, e.g., “He has to implement the policies he promised in the campaign.”

2) eliminate: to remove or get rid of, e.g., “The team was eliminated from the competition.”

3) follow suit: to do the same thing, e.g., “She opposed the plan and the others followed suit.”

4) combat: to fight against, e.g., “How can we combat racism?”

Guess the headline

Yamato Transport looks at ways to ease burdens on d_ _ _ _ _ _ as o_ _ _ _ _ purchases skyrocket

Questions

1) How many delivery time slots might Yamato have in the future?

2) What current trend has led to an increase in deliveries?

3) How is the company trying to cope with the redelivery issue?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Do you prefer online shopping or regular store shopping?

2) How often do you have to have goods redelivered because you are away?

3) What do you think needs to be done to resolve the issues facing the home delivery industry?

Reference

通販業界の規模拡大は目覚ましいものがあり、今やなんでもボタン一つで すぐに家まで送られてくる時代になりました。そして店舗購入と違う点としてどうしてもネックになる、商品を受け取るまでの時間を短縮するため各ネットショッピングサイトはしのぎを削っています。

しかし、それは商品を届ける作業の需要拡大を意味し、また顧客へのサービスを追求すればするほど輸送を行う人々に求めることは多く細かくなって負担となっているようです。

便利な時代を生きようとする私たちはどのようなことをすればよいの でしょうか。

朝の会に参加し、皆さんで話し合ってみましょう。

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