Prime Mover Magazine

Last mile operations commence with opening of largest mail facility in Southern Hemisphere

Australia Post has opened its newest and largest facility in Queensland ahead of Christmas, the organisation's busiest peak period.

The Brisbane Parcel Facility is equal in size to eight football fields and employs over 500 people making the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

It will operate as a sortation and delivery depot with over 220 vans attending it daily.

The opening of the facility at Goodman’s Redbank Motorway Estate follows the announcement of the company's largest Christmas recruitment drive to date, and a series of new sites and upgrades all going live ahead of the peak Christmas rush.

Equipped with technology like Automated Guided Vehicles, robotic arms and parcel pickers, the facility will be able to process 700,000 parcels per day at full capacity to cope with Australia's fast growing consumer economy.

Australia Post Group Chief Operating Officer, Bob Black, said he was thrilled to mark an early start to the Christmas peak period by opening the 50,000 square metre facility on a 130,000 square metre site.

“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,” he said.

“Queenslanders are big online shoppers, with three of the top 10 postcodes – Toowoomba, Mackay, Bundaberg – each experiencing strong growth all above 20 per cent in 2018,” said Black.

“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.”

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, congratulated Australia Post on the opening of its new Queensland facility which will allow it to keep pace with the increasing demand for parcel deliveries Australia wide.

“I’m pleased to see Australia Post modernising its facilities to meet the needs of Australian consumers who are increasingly making the most of convenience of online shopping. Not only will the new Australia Post mail facility provide jobs for 500 people, the adoption of innovative technologies will improve employee health and safety and help the company deliver more parcels to Australian homes and businesses faster than ever,” he said.

Last year Australia Post delivered over 40 million parcels in December, and on two occasions delivered more than 3 million parcels in a day.

This year, Australia Post has noted, volumes are already greater than they were at the same time last year – with the period around Mother’s Day the biggest since Christmas.

Over the coming peak Australia Post anticipates that it will deliver up to 3.5 million parcels on its busiest day, facilitated by a national $900 million, three-year investment in infrastructure and automation.

The $240 million investment in the flagship facility comes complete with two Beumer high-speed sorters capable of processing over 50,000 parcels per hour, four robotic arms that can together clear 320 cages per hour, a parcel picker that can move 2,500 parcels per hour, and 23 automated guided vehicles that can lift and move objects weighing up to 1.4 tonnes each then place them down to an accuracy of ~5mm.

With 3,244 solar panels that generate enough energy to power 280 homes per year – the facility is another important milestone in Australia Post’s transformation from a letter business to a growing ecommerce delivery and services organisation.

“The new automation means we can process more parcels, faster, more safely and more securely than ever before,” said Black.

“As we approach Christmas, we’ll have more planes in the air, more vehicles on the road, more people in our facilities and on the phones, and our Post Offices will be open longer so we can deliver our customers the best festive season yet."

Australia Post runs 6,500 delivery vans and 2,600 trucks nationally.

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