FedEx UK van

As FedEx UK’s Trevor Hoyle stepped into his new shoes as vice president operations UK and Ireland, The Hub was invited to the parcel giant’s hub in Stoke-on-Trent to see its night operation in full swing.

The Stoke-on-Trent hub started its life as a site for cross-docking and was the company’s only hub when FedEx UK’s domestic business began. When running at capacity, the site is capable of processing around 10,000 parcels an hour, while its Stansted hub can process a further 18,000 parcels an hour.

Compared to some other major players in the B2C delivery market this may not seem like huge volumes, but FedEx claims its service proposition focuses on providing a premium service rather than driving high volumes that may be unsustainable for it to manage.

Hoyle explained that the company places high value on types of service it offers and only allows a maximum of six parcels to be left in the hub every night, even during the peak. He mainly puts this down to a lot of its customers wanting express delivery, including the four next-day delivery services it offers: before 9am, before 10am, before noon, and before close of business.

Not just parcels

Although FedEx’s name is mainly associated with the parcel sector, Hoyle tells The Hub that it also occasionally takes pallets and irregular freight. Most of these are put through the Stoke hub, but often have to be sorted by hand as the operator’s manual sorter is not capable of processing them. It uses double-deck trailers to transport the pallets, which are loaded onto the top deck with caged freight on the bottom deck.

The Stoke-on-Trent operation has changed a lot over the last seven years with the increase in demand from online retailers. Due to the drop off in volumes on Fridays, the operator would often shut down or reduce operating hours at its two main hubs. Now, however, even though Fridays are still its quietest day, FedEx always keeps both hubs open.

FedEx is so proud of its operation at its two UK hubs that it took 40 staff from the shop floor at Stoke and Stansted and used them to help in the commission a new automated sorter for FedEx Express’s hub in Cologne, Germany.

Trevor Hoyle also told Motor Transport about his plans for the UK business. Read the interview in MT later this year.