As the first rays of the sun shine over Parga Township in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, Pasang Phuntsok begins his workday sorting packages for delivery.
Situated at an altitude of 4,700 meters, the township in Tibet's Ngari Prefecture is home to over 2,000 residents, and Pasang Phuntsok, 30, is the only postman there.
Pasang Phuntsok has seen firsthand how the postal and express delivery industry in the region has flourished thanks to the development of the plateau's transport infrastructure and the growing demand among local residents.
He began working in Parga after graduating from college in 2017, eight years after a post office was established there.
"At that time, locals hardly needed any postal service as there were very few mail and parcels, and they were all delivered by temporary postmen before I took the job," Pasang Phuntsok recalled.
It took him some time to get accustomed to the job because of the thin air, cold climate, poor road conditions, and sparse population in the pastoral area.
Pasang Phuntsok spends more than 12 hours to complete his daily delivery as the one-way route spans more than 180 km.
"Frostbite and cracked hands are common in the winter due to prolonged stay outdoors every day," he said, noting that in spite of all obstacles, he found the job rewarding.
In July 2018, Pasang Phuntsok trekked 53 km to deliver a university admission letter to a student in the township after the wooden bridge was destroyed by the flood.
"It was already midnight when I arrived. I'll never forget the excitement on his face," he said.
The wooden bridge has been replaced by a concrete bridge and the region is today well connected with smooth asphalt roads. Pasang Phuntsok has delivered college admission letters to many more students, as well as various other items.
"I even delivered electric appliances and these items reflect in some way the transformation in people's lives," he said.
Tibet's postal and express delivery industry saw rapid expansion in the past decade. The number of express delivery outlets and postal outlets in the region rose to 450 and 754 in 2021 respectively, with the industry becoming an indispensable part of business activities and people's daily lives.
Phurdo Tashi, a clerk at the Parga Township post office, said that the average number of daily mail and parcels in the township has increased from less than 40 before 2018 to more than 70 this year.
Pasang Phuntsok said the increasing volume of parcels has made his job busier now. "I hope more people can join me to help with the local postal and delivery services."