Hemisphere's biggest mail sorting plant opens

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Australia Post has opened the biggest mail sorting facility in the Southern Hemisphere, as new research finds global shipping volume is set to hit 200 billion parcels by 2025.

Australia Post's new Redbank facility will be able to process up to 700,000 parcels per day. (Image: Paul Broben via Australia Post)
Australia Post's new Redbank facility will be able to process up to 700,000 parcels per day.
(Image: Paul Broben via Australia Post)

The new $240m Australia Post facility in Redbank, Brisbane, will be able to process 700,000 parcels per day at full capacity. Measuring at 50,000 square metres, and sitting on a 130,000 square metre site, the Brisbane Parcel Facility will employ 500 staff working alongside automated guided vehicles, robotic arms, and parcel pickers.

The opening comes ahead of what Australia Post expects to be its biggest Christmas season yet, with volumes already greater than they were at the same time last year; the mail carrier delivered more than 40 million parcels in December 2018, reaching 3 million in a day on two occasions.

Bob Black, chief operating officer at Australia Post, said e-commerce is fuelling the booming parcel market.

“Australians love online shopping, spending $27.5 billion nationally online last year and this facility will be able to process those parcels more efficiently right across the network – getting it from merchant to customer quicker.

“What we’re also finding is that shoppers are jumping online earlier to snap up deals in annual online sales events, which means we’re getting bigger volumes, earlier in the peak period,” he said.

According to the 2018 Pitney Bowes Parcel Shipping Index, global parcel volume hit 87 billion last year – the highest since the Index began in 2013. Australia contributed 864 million to that total, with parcel revenue reaching $9.3bn and an average of 34 parcels being shipped per person.

Stephen Darracott, country manager and director for Pitney Bowes Australia and New Zealand, pointed out that this was the first year where parcel revenues surpassed mail revenues for all major postal companies.

“Global parcel revenues continue to benefit from the explosive impact of ecommerce, but it isn’t just online shoppers boosting the industry. We know from our clients’ own behaviours that office sending is increasing in Australia, especially as ecommerce increases Australian business visibility globally.

“What’s more, the boost for small businesses showcases the growing consumer appetite and increasing need for competitive offerings,” he said.

Australia Post anticipates delivering up to 3.5 million parcels on its busiest day in the upcoming peak. The Redbank facility is part of a $900m three-year investment by Post in infrastructure and automation.

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