Parcels are stacked high and thousands of letters fill boxes as staff at Isle of Man Post Office frantically sort double the amount of mail ahead of Christmas.
Over 200 staff at postal headquarters in Spring Valley, Douglas, the northern delivery office in Ramsey and southern delivery office at Ronaldsway airport have pulled together to sort and deliver close to three million Christmas cards and presents to island and UK residents.
This year there has been a recorded 10 per cent increase in the number of parcels being sent and delivered with staff having to cope with more than 2,100 parcels a day and between 100,000 and 125,000 items collected each night over the festive period.
In addition to this, around 80,000 to 90,000 items are received each morning from UK companies Yodel, Royal Mail and Parcelforce, which is a massive jump from the usual number of around 1,100 parcels a day and 40,000 to 60,000 letters a night during the year.
Geoff Rickard, mails operations manager at Postal Headquarters, said he thinks the rise in parcels is down to the increase of online shopping: ‘Increasingly more people trust the internet – and people want choice.
‘There’s so much out there to order and its very easy to get it to the island. I think it’s just ease–- it’s a mixture of trust, more disposable income and just pure simplicity.’
He added: ‘We recognise that island customers want to be able to shop in different ways – some prefer the physical shopping experience, some order online to then collect from their local store and some order online to have their purchases delivered. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, with many customers using a mixture of all three depending on what they are considering buying.
‘Our role is to enable customers to order online where the retailer has no physical presence here or where it suits the customer to have the item delivered, which seems increasingly popular judging by the number of packets and parcels we are delivering this Christmas.’
However, there has been five per cent decrease in letters and cards being sent but Geoff said the company needs to see how it can cater for the rise in parcels.
‘We’ve got to look at the parcels delivery business because that’s where the growth is and really that’s a whole different ball game. We move from posting letters through letter boxes to having to knock on doors to hand parcels over - that is a massive difference to the amount of time somebody is out there.’
Staff have been gearing up for Christmas since November, and it’s all hands on deck as office employees also help with sorting mail on top of their usual jobs.
‘People know what to expect, they know it’s going to be difficult, they know it’s going to be long hours, they know about the awful weather and how dark it’s going to be. It is a massive effort but it’s a great atmosphere as well,’ Geoff explained.
Last year, Isle of Man Post Office delivered approximately three million items over the Christmas period and figures are set to be matched this year.
Geoff said: ‘They’ve got a proud tradition here of never failing mail at Christmas. Here you’ve got to be willing to do every job and I think that’s great.
‘The postmen and staff work so hard at this time of year and I think it’s nice for them to get a bit of recognition – they do a cracking job!’