Present delivery fears
    over parcel backlog in
    Newtownards depot

    By Lesley Walsh

    SCORES of Christmas presents could go undelivered this year as local couriers blame strikes by Royal Mail on delays in the distribution of parcels and packages.
    One source put the number of parcels awaiting delivery from a courier warehouse in Newtownards as high as 3,000.
    The claim was made that the backlog of parcels being dealt with by Safeway Logistics would never make it out in time for Christmas.
    However, the company, based at Old Cross Street, has dismissed the figure as incorrect and stressed it has stepped in to help out with the fallout from the Royal Mail strikes.
    The company admitted that an undisclosed number of packages had been delayed by circumstances beyond its control but that it has been working seven days a week to try to ensure Christmas isn’t ruined for people waiting for packages.
    Safeway Logistics, a courier for Evri – formerly Hermes – in Northern Ireland, admitted that strike action by Royal Mail personnel has had an impact on deliveries.
    And it added that its delivery staff, which number approximately 20 to 25, were working tirelessly to deliver the festive post.
    “We don’t have a backlog,” a spokeswoman for Safeway said.
    “We have taken on extra parcels, like every other courier in Northern Ireland, because Royal Mail is on strike.”
    “Anything that has been ordered up to the start of last week will be delivered before Christmas,” she said.
    However, she admitted: “Anything that was ordered and that we have received from the end of last week we can’t guarantee delivery before Christmas.”
    “Our workers are delivering on Sundays even when they’re not meant to be working and taking on extra responsibilities,” she said.
    A spokesperson for Evri has apologised to its customers.
    “We are sorry that some customers in the local area are experiencing short delays in receiving their parcels.
    “This is due to a number of factors including severe weather, Royal Mail strikes and staff shortages. Our local team is working hard to address this and to deliver any delayed parcels over the next few days.
    “We thank everyone for their patience and understanding.”
Another local courier, DPD delivery service, said it had ‘no concerns’ and declined to comment any further.