HIGH-profile businessman Mark Bouris and his mate James Packer have joined forces once more - this time to take on the might of Australia Post.
TZ Limited, chaired by Mr Bouris, will unveil a smart-locker parcel delivery network called Adam that will soon be installed at 50 sites across Australia.
TZ has struck a deal with one of Australia's largest e-commerce delivery companies, Temando, to deliver parcels to the network of Adam lockers, which can be accessed 24 hours a day.
Earlier this year Mr Packer's private investment company, Ellerston Capital, paid $5 million to take a stake in Temando, which delivers parcels for 73 of the 100 biggest retail companies in Australia. The private company ranks second only to Australia Post for annual parcel deliveries.
The last time Mr Bouris did business with the Packers was in 1999, when he talked Kerry Packer into paying $25 million for a stake in his company Wizard Financial Services.
He sold Wizard to global giant GE for $500 million just five years later. Mr Bouris netted $100 million and PBL $58 million from the sale.
TZ's lockers will allow customers to pick up parcels 24 hours a day. Once delivered, customers will receive an electronic message with a unique code that will give them one-off access. "What we are doing with Adam is addressing one of the key problems of online retail, and that's getting the parcels to the customers when and where they want them," Mr Bouris said.
Tuesday's unveiling of the new delivery network - the first lockers will be located in Sydney's CBD and be working by January - ends a tough year for TZ, during which it lost a tender to supply lockers to Australia Post.
"Losing the Australia Post tender, that was a major setback, but we were able to establish during the process that we have one of the top five parcel systems in the world, and that's not bad for a little Aussie company," Mr Bouris said.
"We lost out to a Polish company in Australia. That was tough, and it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, but I've done something about it.
"We've since beaten that Polish company to win a tender with Singapore Post."
Mr Bouris is keen to show Australia Post what it missed out on.
"Australia Post is the big incumbent. They're never going to think I'm a problem, but I am after their market share," Mr Bouris said. "They own the market, and I want some of it."
Temando chief executive Carl Hartmann said the Adam lockers provided a much-needed service for online buyers, who are tired of having to go to post offices to pick up parcels.
Any merchant or delivery service, including Australia Post, will be able to use the Adam locker network. "A lot of thought has gone in to Adam, in terms of the locations of the lockers, parking and the ease of use," Mr Hartmann said. "We can see there being 100 or so locations by the end of next year.
"A few years ago it was all about free delivery, now people are looking for convenience. The more they can fit picking parcels into their lifestyle, the better."
The rise of online retail has seen massive growth in parcel delivery in recent years. Data from Australian Customs shows the volume of small parcels delivered to Australia from overseas has doubled from 23.5 million pieces in 2006-7 to 48 million pieces in 2010-11.