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February 21, 2012

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Security rules to require opening of parcels

THE city's major courier firms have begun ordering their delivery personnel to examine the contents of parcels they receive from customers more often as a prelude to a new rule to be carried out starting May 1 by the State Post Bureau of China.

Couriers of the YTO Express and Yunda Express delivery firms have begun asking customers to open their parcels or declare what is inside, officials of the companies said yesterday.

"The company has authorized the couriers to refuse to take the parcels if the customers refuse to open them," an official with the YTO Express said.

He said the company also began asking the customers to use a common wrapping that the company can provide upon picking up the package. This way the customers can open the parcels for inspection before they are wrapped.

Customers must open the parcels if they send things from hotels or from other temporary addresses, said an official with Yunda Express.

Couriers will have the right to refuse to deliver parcels if customers refuse to open them, according to the Courier Service Rule from the State Post Bureau of China.

Beijing's agency has ordered couriers to carefully examine the contents of parcels they receive starting next month. A circular on the agency's website orders Beijing couriers to stamp the delivery bill after checking the contents of a parcel in the sender's presence to ensure the information and the package's contents are detailed correctly.

The Beijing agency also stipulated that the courier who takes delivery of the goods will be held directly responsible for the parcel's safe transportation, and the company should keep complete documents for the delivery to enable necessary tracking.

The stricter regulations come after a man in the southern city of Guangzhou was severely injured in a blast from a package containing explosives that was delivered to him on February 6. The explosives were disguised as a festival gift and were delivered from another address in Guangzhou.

The regulation to open parcels has triggered concerns over privacy and work efficiency, because the process of delivery could be seriously delayed if all parcels must be checked manually by couriers.

A national regulation for courier services enacted in 2008 has actually required delivery personnel to check the content of parcels, but it has not been followed, said Shao Zhonglin, deputy secretary-general of the China Express Association.


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