Delivery trucks to get lighter, more numerousThe government has decided to ease regulations on parcel delivery trucks by allowing vehicles that are smaller than 1.5 tons to be registered as commercial vehicles.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on Wednesday said that starting in May, such smaller vehicles will be allowed to register as parcel delivery trucks. The government’s weight limit was meant to reduce the number of commercial delivery trucks and reduce competition.
But it led to demand outstripping supply, and some parcel deliveries were done illegally with smaller sized vehicles. There was even a black market for government approved commercial license plates, which were traded at a value of 10 to 20 million won ($9,400 to $18,800) and used on smaller trucks.
The ministry said the number of cases reported of unlicensed parcel deliveries has grown in recent years from 407 in 2015 to 655 in 2016 and 762 last year.
As of the end of 2016, 28,560 vehicles were licensed as parcel delivery trucks. But there is demand for more.
Korea is one of the fastest growing markets in the world for parcel deliveries, fuelled by more people shopping online and via mobile devices.
According to the government, the parcel delivery market has been expanding in double digits in most years. The market grew 17.9 percent in 2004 and 16.9 percent in 2008, 8.2 percent in 2012 and 12.7 percent in 2016.
The market is estimated to be valued at 5.2 trillion won. Deliveries of some 2.3 billion worth of goods were made in 2017.
Some estimates say the market needs 40,000 parcel delivery trucks, roughly 28 percent more than the current level.
“We hope the easing of the regulation will contribute to creating more job opportunities while improving service for customers,” said a Land Ministry official.
The government’s easing of regulations on parcel delivery trucks came after an apartment development had a very public feud with the commercial parcel delivery services.
Recently, parcels have been stacked up at the entrance to the parking lot of an apartment complex in Dasan New Town in Namyangju, Gyeonggi, after delivery trucks were banned from entering the complex.
Apartment complexes are now being designed to prevent vehicles from traveling above ground and only allow them to travel through basement parking lots.
Although in some apartment complexes those rules have been ignored, residents of the Dasan New Town banned the parcel delivery trucks from traveling above ground after a child was almost hit by a truck that was backing up in February. The next month, residents prohibited the entry of trucks.
Dasan New Town has a basement parking lot for delivery trucks to use. However, while the heights of delivery trucks are between 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) and 2.7 meters, the entry to the basement parking lot is only 2.3 meters.
BY LEE HO-JEONG [email@example.com]
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