Yamato modifies delivery time slots to ease driver burdens

Yamato Transport Co. on Monday modified its parcel delivery time slots in Japan in an effort to reduce burdens on truck drivers working hard to handle a sharply increasing number of parcels.

The door-to-door parcel delivery firm abolished designated time-delivery service from noon to 2 p.m. to allow drivers to take lunch breaks.

In addition, the company replaced the latest time slot 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 revised their delivery time slots.

A Yamato client, who visited the company’s office in central Tokyo’s Nihonbashi district to receive his 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, which ended in March, the company delivered a record 1.867 billion items, some 1.6-fold from 10 years before. The figure is increasing in fiscal 2017. In May, it posted about 149 million items, up 7.3 percent from a year before, hitting a record high 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 burdens on its drivers.

In addition, it has been in talks with online retail giant Amazon Japan G.K. 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.

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