UK's outbound parcel volumes jump thanks to cross-border e-commerce

Online retailers and catalogue companies in the UK are seizing on opportunities to sell into international markets – resulting in significant growth in international package volumes this Christmas. Royal Mail said this week its Heathrow Worldwide Distribution Centre has been handling more than 600,000 packets a day so far during the festive period.

This is almost double the amount for a normal day.

The UK postal service said Australia was the leading growth market for UK distance sellers, with November figures suggesting a 31% growth in package volumes going Down Under compared to the same period last year.

European markets have also been fairing well for UK e-commerce and mail order firms, including Greece, which despite its economic woes has been attracting 21% more packages from the UK this year, as well as Finland (20% higher volumes), Netherlands (20%) and France (19%).

Denmark (10%), Switzerland (9.5%), Italy (7%) and Spain (6.9%) are also among the top European growth markets for British parcel shipments this year.

Volumes going to the United States have grown by 9.8% according to Royal Mail figures.

Nick Landon, Royal Mail’s managing director of fulfilment and packets, said: “Not only has online shopping become increasingly popular for people buying Christmas presents in the UK, our retailers are in demand with people overseas.

“Throughout November and December, Royal Mail’s Heathrow Worldwide Distribution Centre has been handling more than 600,000 packages on peak days for destinations around the globe.”

The Heathrow-based centre comprises a 40,000 square metre hall on a 100,000 square metre site, with its purpose-built package sorting machine using voice hybrid technology and seven miles of conveyor systems.

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