Delivery Industry News

Here’s Why Courier Deliveries Are Safest During COVID-19

August 7, 2020, Smart Courier Blog.  Ever since this COVID-19 pandemic, our everyday life has become difficult. Customers worry that getting basic necessities like groceries and medicines can be challenging and a risk to their safety. You may be asked how safe it is for same day delivery service couriers to be picking up and delivering orders during this pandemic.  Here are some simple explanations on how using courier services are safe.

People have become more careful regarding personal hygiene in order to fight the virus, and courier companies have prioritized the safety of their staff, drivers, and clients during the entire delivery process.  The points mentioned here should be enough to convince customers that seeking courier service during this time poses no threat.

Staffs are adequately educated about the virus.  Couriers have received extra training, tips and techniques on operating during Covid-19 and preventing its spread with the extended use of hand sanitizer, wearing PPE, and frequent hand washing.  Personal hygiene makes the difference.  Wearing masks, gloves, and frequently washing hands are the three most crucial steps to maintain personal hygiene during the pandemic. Using hand sanitizers and wearing gloves when a package is handled is also very important to minimize the chances of the virus spreading. Also, many couriers have stopped retrieving signatures upon delivery in an attempt to minimize the spread of germs through handheld signature capturing devices.

Sanitizing the vehicle used for delivery.  Drivers are tasked with disinfecting surfaces of the vehicles that are frequently touched during loading and unloading, including door handles, the steering wheel and gear lever.  Contactless delivery is encouraged.  Customers can be contacted prior to delivery to be informed of the estimated delivery time. The exact point of delivery is also decided over the phone to ensure there is zero contact between the delivery person and recipient. For instance, the order is left at the apartment door or in front of the main door, allowing for social distancing for all parties.

Online Payment.  Modern courier companies also bill electronically and give the option to pay electronically without exchanging credit cards or cash with the driver. They are encouraging more and more customers to go cashless to avoid personal contact.

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Food Delivery Drivers Worry for Their Safety, Despite Curfew Exemption.

August 4, 2020.  With New York City operating on an 8 p.m. curfew, some food delivery workers are skipping shifts to stay home — out of confusion or fear for their safety.  They want to avoid the fate of the food-delivery cyclist who turned apparently unaware where police had dispersed peaceful protesters and begun arresting stragglers.  Then the officers came for the delivery man, according to a witness who captured the incident on video.  The footage shows the delivery worker pleading with the police to inspect his phone to look for the app that proves he’s on duty as an essential worker.  “Are you serious?” the deliverer cried incredulously as he was led away in handcuffs. “I’m working! I’m working!”  Cyclists and drivers delivering food during the pandemic are essential workers, exempt from the curfew. But many food deliverers say the risk of being caught in the crosshairs between police and protesters isn’t worth it.

“The images and the videos that you can look on the web — they show you the brutal police force that the police use right now,” said Juan Diego, who delivers for the food delivery app GrubHub.  “It’s better to stay home and stay safe. No one wants to get beaten that way,” he told THE CITY.  As he stood outside a Harlem Chipotle Wednesday afternoon, 28-year-old Javier Ángeles said he changed his delivery schedule so he’d arrive home to The Bronx before the curfew went into effect.  “We are afraid that they could grab us, arrest us and deport us,” he said.  The mayor’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

DivineGod Gurley, 42, has been delivering meals through Postmates full-time since he was laid off from his job back in March. Postmates provided a letter certifying him as an essential worker. But Gurley said he’s not going to assume the credential will help police to discern him from protesters roaming the streets past curfew.  “Even having that letter, I was still afraid of just having to come in contact with police,” he said. “I mean there’s really no precautions to take. There’s nothing I can do except drive and hope that I don’t get pulled over.  “I’ve showed them the app proving that I was doing deliveries, and they’ve still asked to search my car or told me it smelled like I had been smoking. And that was just the norm before people were protesting. There’s nothing I can do to protect myself. There’s nothing I can do.”

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Fun (Remember Fun?) COVID-19 Means More Packages and a New Game – Delivery Driver Tag.

July 20 2020.  Here’s something automated delivery drones will never do: play a fun prank on a competitor’s drone. But that’s just what’s happening among some UPS and FedEx drivers, according to a new report in the Wall Street JournalThe Journal explored a fun rivalry that has developed between the seriously overworked delivery drivers who are one of the cogs in the machine keeping the world running during COVID-19–related shutdowns and stay-at-home orders. Once people figured out they can shop online instead of in stores, delivery numbers went way up, starting with what most business-minded people would see as a positive: a 10 percent increase in the first quarter of 2020. This has turned a bit more intense recently, so much so that drivers are getting swamped, and FedEx has had noticeable delays in California and Michigan, and potentially other areas as well, according to MSN.

So, with more and more packages to deliver in the same amount of time they had before, some delivery drivers are allowing themselves a bit of lighthearted “tagging” to brighten their days, which means putting their own company’s door labels on other companies’ trucks. While these stickers are usually used to let people know that a delivery was attempted, they’re now being used to put “I Heart UPS” onto a FedEx truck, for example, or vice versa.

While there were plenty of people commenting online that these drivers should focus on delivering their packages correctly and on time, we completely understand the need to blow off some steam in a harmless way like this. Drivers told the WSJ that they play the game without letting it affect their deliveries much. “We don’t go hunting each other down,” one UPS driver said. “We wait for each other to cross paths.”

The corporate response has been good-natured as well. A UPS spokesperson told the WSJ: “A friendly game of tag is one way of remembering to smile while our people continue to bring others the things they need to live their lives and run their businesses,” while a FedEx spokeswoman told the paper: “Our team members are proud to deliver for our customers. Sometimes, they are known to literally stick it to the competition.”

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NJ Supreme Court Rules Delivery Drivers Can Be Forced to Arbitrate Contract Disputes Individually.

July 14, 2020.  In related cases Arafa v. Health Express Corp. and Colon v. Strategic Delivery Solutions, LLC, the Supreme Court of New Jersey held that, under state law, transportation contracts requiring delivery drivers to go through individual arbitration when they sue carriers are valid.  The drivers who were doing the suing claimed that Federal Law, specifically the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), contained a special provision for transportation workers that allowed them to disregard provisions in their contracts that required disputes to be resolved through arbitration instead of litigation in front of a jury.  The Court agreed but nevertheless held that the drivers’ contract terms could be enforced under the New Jersey Arbitration Act (NJAA).  The Court observed that the NJAA governs ‘“all agreements to arbitrate . . . and contains no exemption for transportation workers.

In addition, the Court found the part of the contract where drivers waived their right to bring class-actions against their carriers to be enforceable under the NJAA. Accordingly, it ordered arbitration of the drivers’ claims on an individual basis.  Drivers sometimes rely on class-action lawsuits to band together and share expenses when challenging the practices of larger contracting carriers.

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Metro Detroit Amazon Driver Goes Viral after Abandoning Van, Packages.

June 30, 2020.  Derick Lancaster, who goes by @_lilderick on Twitter, tweeted at 2:50 p.m. Monday about quitting his job as a delivery driver for Amazon and abandoning the van he drove for the company at a gas station, with the keys in the ignition.  “I quit amazon f— that driving s— i left the van on 12 mile and Southfield y’all can have that b—- and it’s full of gas wit the keys in the IGNITION” he tweeted.  It has since gone viral with thousands of retweets and millions of interactions.

On Tuesday, the 22-year-old said after making deliveries for the giant online retailer, he quit because he had had enough.  “I was making 200-300 stops a day, and I just couldn’t do it anymore,” he said. “I was working from 9 in the morning to about 10 at night, and I couldn’t do it anymore.”  Delivery drivers can’t knock off for the day until all of their packages have made it to their destinations.  “You work for every penny when you’re delivering,” he said.  A representative for Amazon said the company is looking into the incident and did not confirm Lancaster’s employment.

Lancaster did have plenty of supporters online.  There have been numerous complaints from Amazon workers across the world claiming that the company treats employees like robots.  Locally, the retailer faced scrutiny over lack of protections during the COVID-19 pandemic at its Romulus facility.   In April, workers at the site participated in a walkout, alleging the company did not protect their health and the safety or that of customers. The action followed others at Amazon locations on the East Coast and in Chicago.

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Confrontation with Delivery Driver Leads to Bias Charge in Bend, OR.

June 28, 2020.  KTVZ reports that a Bend, OR man who allegedly confronted and harassed a delivery driver picking up in Old Mill restaurant was charged with a bias crime, Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel said.  The alleged victim, a 31-year-old Bend man Hummel described as a person of color saving up to buy an Ethiopian food truck, entered Bend’s Old Mill District while working as a delivery person for DoorDash.  Hummel said the driver picked up the delivery food bag from the area in the bar where delivery orders are left for drivers.

A customer in the bar, identified as Jeremiah McBride, 35, saw the delivery driver pick up the order and confronted him, the DA said. The man told McBride he was a delivery driver, “but this did not deter Mr. McBride,” Hummel said in a news release.  “McBride persisted with his hostile attitude, including calling the victim the ‘N-word,’” the prosecutor said.  The delivery man walked out to his car, but McBride pursued him. Hummel said the DoorDash driver “started to drive off when Mr. McBride violently kicked the car, causing damage.” The delivery driver got out of his car, Hummel said, and “McBride then shouted and shoved him.”  Witnesses, including the Red Robin bartender who came outside, observed what took place, Hummel said.  As a crowd formed, McBride disengaged, got in a car and drove off. Hummel said the alleged victim took a photo of the suspect’s license plate as he left and notified police, who contacted McBride.

Hummel charged McBride with second-degree bias crime, harassment and second-degree criminal mischief.  “Oregon’s bias crime law exists for situations exactly like this,” Hummel said in a statement. “A shove is more than a shove when a person is shoved because of the color of their skin.  “By all accounts, (the alleged victim) is one of the hardest workers in our community. He’s saving money in pursuit of his dream to one day open an Ethiopian food truck in our community.  To be challenged by a customer at a place he has picked up orders dozens of times, must have been disheartening,” Hummel wrote.  “It is something that would never have happened to a white man. (The driver) is a valued member of our community, and I stand with him,” the DA’s statement concluded.

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Last-Mile Delivery Trends During COVID-19 and Beyond

June 4, 2020Parcel Magazine.  Last-mile delivery providers are able to adjust to the COVID-19 pandemic more easily than other industries – continuing to prioritize and move quickly to get essential packages to consumers.  The impact of the crisis on the future of last mile delivery is still to be determined but all signs point to trends – like an accelerated conversion to online shopping and continued investment in technology to drive efficiency and automation – to continue. Here are some key changes we’ve seen, and how we believe those changes will impact the last mile delivery landscape during the next phase of the pandemic, and even post-pandemic.

Accelerated conversion of retail to online: Before COVID-19, the trend toward online shopping was already in motion. But example, even older generations, who were more hesitant to shop online, have done much of their shopping online during the pandemic. Now that they have had that exposure, many will continue this behavior.

Technology focused on efficiency and automation: Organizations have looked to technology, like driver apps and automation, a trend that will continue post-pandemic as companies continue to see increased demand from the accelerated conversion to online shopping.

Shifting delivery timing: A LaserShip study conducted in February 2020 showed “Fast and Free” to be the most important factors for customers when making online shopping decisions. When the crisis is over, we believe consumers will demand “Fast and Free” again.

Types of good delivered: In March, some retailers of non-essential goods shut down, while others saw less demand. Recently, we started to see surges in retail purchases for stores with brick-and-mortar locations that are shut down. We are also seeing deliveries of masks and gloves in preparation for locations planning to reopen in the coming weeks. There has also been a huge increase in deliveries of medical supplies and perishables, including meal kits.

Safety remains top priority: Organizations across the board have implemented increased sanitization and strict social distancing policies. For last mile delivery organizations, this has included scattered timing for independent contractors in warehouses and removing signature requirements for deliveries.

Josh Dinneen, SVP of Commercial Development at LaserShip, the largest regional e-commerce parcel carrier in the US, operating in the largest and fastest growing metro areas in the eastern part of the country.

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Black Delivery Driver Records White Men Blocking, Questioning Him

May 16, 2020.His name stitched on his uniform shirt didn’t help. Neither did his carrier’s name on his delivery truck. Travis Miller, a furniture and appliance delivery driver making a run through a gated Oklahoma City neighborhood, was held up for more than a half-hour by two white men who blocked his truck with a car and demanded to know why he was there, NBC News reported. Miller, who is black, left the confrontation in tears, after capturing the incident on a 37-minute cellphone video that has since gone viral. Miller’s video, which he streamed live on Facebook, had been viewed more than 439,000 times and shared more than 14,000 times. “My intention was to cover myself in case he called my employer and said I did something other than what I did,” Miller told NBC News in a phone interview.

Miller, 42, explained that the customer to whom he and a co-worker were delivering had given him the code to get through the gate of the Ashford Hills neighborhood. They made their delivery and were leaving the property when their truck was blocked in by a white Subaru. The Subaru’s driver, who identified himself as David Stewart, demanded to know why the men were there. Miller told NBC News that he was already under a great deal of strain that day. He is dealing with losing his grandmother and aunt within a day of one another. They died of natural causes. In the video, Miller states, “If I go around him, I’m going to have to drive on somebody’s property, and I don’t want to make a bad situation worse.”

As the video continues, Miller is heard asking someone else nearby to get Stewart to move his car. “Can you tell him to hang up and move so I can leave?” Miller calls out. “Thank you.” He also repeatedly asks Stewart to move, but Stewart demands to know where Miller is going. “It’s none of your business,” responds Miller. I’m going out. That’s where I’m going, but you’re in my way.”

As Miller sits there, he is heard saying he will remain in the truck, with his seat belt on, to ensure the argument remains verbal. A few seconds later, a second man returns to Miller’s window. “All we want to know is why you’re in here and who gave you the gate code. That’s all we need to know,” the man says. “Show me your badge,” Miller says. “I don’t have a badge,” the other man responds. “Then you don’t have a reason to ask me any questions,” Miller says as the man walks away again. “It’s that simple. Just have your buddy move the car so I can leave.” Stewart did not move the car until the resident to whom the delivery men had delivered items learned what was happening and arrived. Stewart did not offer an apology for blocking the men in the neighborhood.

Miller called the police to ensure that they would not arrive in the neighborhood, find him gone and accuse him of fleeing a scene. He also called his customer — who apologized profusely for what the men had been put through. Miller told NBC News that he could not understand the sense of entitlement that led the men to believe their actions were all right. He said he is taking comfort in the words of support he has received from people who have viewed the video on social media. “People of all races, shades of life, have either commented on the video, shared the video or messaged me on Facebook and said, ‘I don’t know if you’ll ever see this, but I want to applaud you for how you responded,’” Miller told the network. “It makes me feel good knowing that being humble and showing restraint touched many other people.”