Royal Mail invests in more parcel sorting machines as parcel volumes continue to rise

Royal Mail invests in more parcel sorting machines as parcel volumes continue to rise

Royal Mail has agreed to buy four new fully-automated parcel sorting machines to speed up the processing of parcels in its mail centres. The cutting-edge technology will expand Royal Mail’s parcel processing capacity, with each machine able to process around 180,000 parcels per day and up to 10,000 parcels per hour.

They will join 20 automated parcel processing machines the company has already deployed in its Mail Centres across the UK to meet the growing demand for parcels from customers.

Royal Mail research indicates that 8 in 10 Brits anticipate their level of online shopping will continue at the same rate, or even increase, in the months and years to come. The new parcel sorting machines will help Royal Mail meet the growth in online shopping while enhancing the processing of parcels in its network.

Investment in parcel sortation technology forms a key part of Royal Mail’s transformation strategy to become a parcels-led business. Royal Mail intends to continue with the installation of automated parcel sorting solutions in its operation over the next three years.

The new technology will replace significant manual sorting processes that can be both time consuming and physically demanding, often requiring two separate sorts to get parcels in the right place for despatch.

The Royal Mail automated parcel sorting machines use an intelligent system of conveyor belts and scanning technology that automatically sorts parcels for despatch to mail centres across the country. The machines are capable of sorting parcels to different destinations within the Royal Mail network, covering the entire length and breadth of the country. They can also handle a variety of parcels from those the size of a CD up to an item around the size of two shoe boxes side by side – with a weight range of up to 3kg.

The new parcel sorting machines are earmarked for deployment in our Tyneside, Medway, Nottingham and Southampton plants with operational roll-out projected to begin next year. They will join the 20 fully-automated parcel sorting machines which are already operational in 16 Mail Centres in Bristol, Swindon, Hemel Hempstead, Chelmsford, Greenford, Warrington, Manchester, Glasgow, Peterborough, Sheffield, South Midlands (Northampton), Jubilee (Kingston), Gatwick, Birmingham, Leeds and Preston.

Simon Barker, National Network & Integration Director at Royal Mail, said: “With the growth in online shopping, customers are showing an even greater appetite for parcels. This year alone has seen parcel volumes rise by 34% in the first five months of the year. Automating parcel sortation will enable us to meet this growing demand and transform our company into a parcels led delivery company that also delivers letters.

“We have already made significant strides towards this goal, having invested in the design and installation of 20 parcel sorting machines in 16 sites across the country. This automation technology is already fully operational and has increased the number of parcels sorted automatically on our network by a third. Our plan is to build on this and continue to increase the number of parcels automatically sorted in our network as parcel volumes continue to rise.”

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