Royal Mail is ramping up its transformation to a parcels-led business with the launch of two new large parcel conveyors which can handle parcels upto 30kg in weight.

First off the chocks is a large parcel conveyor at Gatwick Mail Centre with plans to launch a second large parcels conveyor at its South Midlands Mail Centre in the near future.

Gatwick and South Midlands have been chosen because they are the mail centres which process the most oversized parcels in the Royal Mail network. Royal Mail said it has plans for additional launches in mail centres across the UK.

The Gatwick conveyor will support the automation and customer tracking of larger parcels weighing up to 30kg in the network and are part of a wider programme of automating parcel processing to improve efficiency.

Designed to process around 3,000 large parcels per hour, the conveyor is fitted with a dimension, weight and scanner system designed to handle bulkier items. This provides Royal Mail with more accurate data that enables managers to more efficiently pack and route collection vehicles and gives customers a better tracking service for larger parcels.

Read more

The conveyors handle parcels classed as Format 3 & 4 which are items measuring a maximum of 610x460x460 and up to 30kg in weight. This is about the equivalent in size to a parcel containing a microwave oven.

Royal Mail is pursuing an ambitious programme of automation. In March 2022, it reached the milestone of 50% parcels automated - up from 33% the previous year. The business is aiming to reach its overall target of 90% parcel automation by 2023-24.

In June, Royal Mail opened its huge new North West Super Hub in Warrington which can process more than 800,000 parcels a day. Its Midlands Super Hub, based in Daventry, is on track to open in Summer 2023 and when operational, will be able to process more than one million items per day.

Grant McPherson, Royal Mail chief operating officer, said: “We are working hard to transform the Royal Mail operation to process all parcels more efficiently so that we can deliver an even better experience for our customers.

"By investing in machines that can process bulkier and heavier parcels, we are putting in place the building blocks for higher levels of customer tracking and transparency. This new large parcel conveyor is just another example of how we are investing in reinventing Royal Mail for the future.”