From Jan. 1, 2021, anyone sending an international package through Singpost will have to declare their package via Ezy2ship, before dropping the package off at SingPost.
Have to declare package online
This is in line with new international requirements, as Singapore is part of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), a specialised agency under the United Nations (UN) which coordinates postal policies among member countries.
From Jan. 1, 2021, member countries are required to use electronic declarations of international shipments.
To meet this requirement, SingPost said it would be moving the customs declaration process online, requiring customers to pre-declare their items via Singpost's Ezy2ship's website before coming to the post office, instead of using the current arrangement of filling in a physical customs form (also known as CN22/23) when shipping a package overseas.
Users, according to SingPost's FAQ, will need to submit their data, pay and print shipping labels, and drop the package(s) in a posting box for non-tracked items, or over the counter at Post Offices (for tracked items).
The new arrangement from Jan. 1 applies to international packages sent via the following services through Singpost:
- Basic Package (International)
- Registered Package (International)
- Speedpost (International) - Express, Priority and Economy
Local packages, and normal mail containing only paper products are not affected by the new requirement.
Normal process of shipping via Singpost
While it sounds like it would have made the process less manually taxing, some users faced problems using the website, including artist Putri Wahyu, who goes by Addigni on Instagram.
Speaking to Mothership, Wahyu shared that the normal process of shipping packages overseas via Singpost is rather quick and efficient.
This entire process usually takes her half an hour for 100 packages, and Wahyu adds that the staff are "well-trained and really fast at what they do."
Website not user-friendly
Ezy2ship takes the customs declaration process online.
While packages still have to be dropped off at post offices, all of the other steps, including payment, can be completed via the online platform.
Wahyu, who makes and sells pins of the K-Pop boyband BTS, had decided to try out the Ezy2ship website during its soft launch.
However, she found the website difficult to use and riddled with issues.
Here are some of the issues:
- The website asks for only the postal code of the receiver, and often has issues identifying the postal code submitted.
- It takes a long time to load each page for each step or for error messages to pop up.
- Error messages, a reminder about prohibited goods and loading screens appear as multiple pop-ups, which take a long time to load.
- The website requests the declared value of the package several times in the declaration process, on at least three separate pages.
- The user has to input said declared value correctly each time. If not, the form will reset, and the user will have to re-input everything from page one.
- The form requires users to key in the weight and measurement of packages, which may be inconvenient for certain users who may not be able to weigh or measure their packages at home.
Problems even after using the website
More troubles followed after submitting the forms for all the packages.
When printing out the labels for the packages, they did not come out according to the sequence in which she submitted the declaration forms to the system.
This ended up with her needing extra time to sort out the labels and match them to the packages.
When dropping off the packages at the post office, Wahyu now has to sign individually for each package — a significant change from the previous arrangement where she was only required to sign a single form for packages in the same batch.
She also found herself running into issues such as her package not having been registered in the system despite having already submitted the declaration form prior to her visit.
When she made use of Ezy2ship for a second time, the staff at the post office branch she went to said that the postage fee on her system did not match up with the postage fee Wahyu had paid for.
This was because Wahyu had used the 10 per cent off promo code that SingPost offered to incentivise the use of Ezy2ship, and the system did not recognise that a discounted price was being applied to Wahyu's postage fee.
Tried to bring the website issues up to SingPost
Exasperated by the process, Wahyu tried to reach out to Singpost via their Customer Care hotline.
However, the call centre employee who received her phone call was only able to promise to escalate the problem to the relevant department.
A SingPost department did indeed get back to her — with an apology, saying that they did not have solutions for the issues she highlighted.
Wahyu also raised her concerns at her neighbourhood's Singpost branch, where the branch manager said that she could collate the complaints about the website she got at the branch, and bring it up to the other branch managers.
"She ended off with saying that, if other branches are saying the same things, then maybe they can try to push to make Ezy2ship as optional (like it is right now) and still keep the old normal way of doing things", Wahyu said.
Affects small businesses
While the problem affects anyone who uses SingPost's international shipping services, Wahyu pointed out that small businesses are affected disproportionately.
"...for small businesses with online shops, where I have to send maybe 100 orders every a few days... This part of the job which used to take me only 30 minutes is now going to take me 16 hours, essentially taking away so much of the time that I use for other things just because of a poorly made site."
Wahyu uploaded a post regarding the issue on her Instagram page on Dec. 3, prompting a response from SingPost in the comments.
In response to Mothership's queries, SingPost said that they "understand that some customers are facing difficulty in using the Ezy2ship portal," and that they are working on improving the usability of the website for all customers.
Upcoming enhancements include a mobile-friendly portal and user guides for customers, which will be rolled out progressively in early 2021.
SingPost also thanked customers for their feedback on the portal, and seek their understanding in the meantime as they work on these enhancements.
SingPost also added that customers who require assistance in their international shipments can still proceed to any post office to make their declaration and make their payment over the counter.
However, customers who do not use Ezy2ship will not be entitled to any discounts.
Their items may also be subject to longer delivery times due to the additional electronic filing necessary for these items.
Top image via Singpost and Addigni's Instagram post