/

Yamato modifies delivery time slots to ease driver burden

JIJI

Yamato Transport Co. has modified its parcel delivery time slots to reduce the burden on overworked drivers handling a sharp increase in parcels.

As of Monday, the door-to-door parcel delivery firm no longer allows noon to 2 p.m. as a designated delivery time so drivers can take a lunch break.

In addition, the company replaced the latest time slot in the day of 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a new slot of 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. to avoid the concentration of delivery orders in the final one hour.

In line with the change, Seven & I Holdings Co., Lawson Inc. and other retailers that offer online shopping using Yamato’s delivery services have revised their delivery time slots.

A Yamato client, visiting the company’s office in central Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district to receive a parcel, showed understanding for the change. “I’m not having much difficulty,” he said.

But a Yamato branch office manager in Tokyo warned against too much optimism, saying, “We need at least a week to listen to voices from clients in order to know what kind of responses we are receiving.”

The unit of Yamato Holdings Co. is facing a surge in the amount of parcels handled through its home delivery services on the back of the spread of online shopping.

In fiscal 2016, the company delivered a record 1.867 billion items, up around 1.6-fold from 10 years before. The figure is increasing in fiscal 2017. In May, it handled about 149 million items, up 7.3 percent from a year before, a record for the month.

The company plans to reduce the annual number by some 4 percent to 1.79 billion in fiscal 2017 to help lessen the burdens on its drivers.

In addition, it has been in talks with online retail giant Amazon Japan and other large-lot corporate clients to raise delivery fees.

Yamato aims to see positive effects from these efforts from the second half of fiscal 2017.