Online shopping and family separations prompted by coronavirus have seen Australia Post experience its busiest Christmas ever, with more than 52 million packages delivered in December, AAP reports.
It was also the service's biggest month in its 211-year history, with deliveries up almost 20 per cent compared to December 2019.
More than two million packages were delivered on some days, while more than 490 tonnes of airfreight was moved in a single night at the peak of the rush.
While Australia Post had expected its busiest Christmas ever, acting chief executive Rodney Boys said the season still exceeded their expectations.
"Ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, social distancing and reduced domestic flights coupled with significantly higher parcel volumes meant that delivering Christmas 2020 for all Australians was always going to be incredibly challenging," Mr Boys said in a statement.
To cope with demand, 60 new or repurposed facilities were opened, 3000 vehicles were added to the fleet and extra planes put on.
An additional 5000 staff were also recruited by the service.
"Our incredible team ... worked tirelessly under difficult circumstances for their communities to deliver a truly phenomenal Christmas," Mr Boys said.
Minister for Communications Paul Fletcher was also full of praise for Australia Post employees.
"Australia Post staff should be congratulated for the way they have risen to the challenge of unprecedented demand," he said in a statement.
Australian Associated Press