Express delivery overhaul

Updated: 2013-12-23 07:27

(China Daily)

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One death and seven injuries from parcels contaminated with a highly toxic chemical signify that the express delivery sector is in urgent need of an overhaul.

A man died after receiving a parcel of shoes delivered by Shanghai-based YTO Express that had been contaminated with methyl fluoroacetate. Two other recipients of parcels and five delivery workers are also being treated after their exposure to the chemical.

A spokesman for YTO said that the contamination took place when a package broke during transport allowing the chemical to leak out.

There are rules that strictly prohibit the delivery of dangerous items and there are also specifications requiring careful examination of parcels to ensure their compliance.

The parcel containing the chemical emitted a repugnant smell that had caused two workers to vomit immediately after it was received for delivery. However, the factory, owner sending the parcel, lied by saying that the parcel was safe for delivery without any harmful substance.

Even if the factory claimed the parcel was safe, YTO had enough reason to check since it had already caused its workers to throw up.

Then there is the question of why the parcel leaked. Was it packed correctly in the first place? And was it handled correctly? It is well known that some delivery workers upload and unload parcels in a careless manner in order to swiftly finish the job.

The loopholes exposed by this incident point to the messy management of the express delivery sector, which has witnessed rapid development in recent years.

In this process, some express delivery giants have snowballed rapidly by developing local branches, but without ever tightening the management over their local branches.

The too frequent coming and going of delivery workers has added to the difficulty in supervising them.

That explains why there have been reports of delivery workers stealing from their clients and even a delivery worker who killed a client in order to rob her, as well as reports of parcels exploding on opening, harming the recipients.

This lethal poisoning incident should be a reminder that express delivery giants such as YTO need to have a clear strategy for their long-term development. Blind expansion without nurturing a sound corporate culture will do no good to the industry's sound development.

Also stricter and clarified rules are needed to improve standards and safety.

(China Daily 12/23/2013 page10)