bpost Belgium has begun installing a parcel sorting machine in its Antwerp X site in Belgium, to expand its sorting capacity in response to the fall in letter volumes and the rise of e-commerce.
The first part of the new parcel sorting machine (PSM) will be fully operational by the end of October 2022. The second part will be delivered in 2023. Together, they will sort 18,000 to 20,000 parcels per hour (a doubling of sorting capacity).
The installation has been conducted in overlapping parts to ensure there will be no loss of sorting capacity during construction or the changeover to a new machine.
According to bpost, all the sorting center infrastructure has been adapted to the new machine. The existing building was enlarged by 2,000m². Furthermore, earlier in 2022 the site received 19 truck bays and two loose load conveyors, which can be extended into the interior of the truck to unload and transport bulk cargo to the sorting machine. This will enable customers to load their goods straight into the truck without using pallets or containers. Alongside a 1.2km parcel sorting machine, the Antwerp X site now has 90 to 160 chutes. It covers 55,000m² and can undertake automatic scanning of parcel size, weight and barcode.
Ronald Kenens, director of preparation at bpost, said, “The AX sorting center investment shows bpost’s ambition to position itself as the preferred partner in e-commerce logistics, staying true to our DNA and ensuring employees have opportunities to grow and develop.”
Petra De Sutter, minister of public enterprises with responsibility for the postal service, added, “There’s more to a parcel than you might think. Everyone sees the parcel deliverer passing by on our streets, but there’s the whole machinery behind them. It’s good that bpost is preparing for the expected parcel rush at the end of the year with this new parcel machine. We expect our public enterprises to constantly innovate and act as role models. This high-tech machine is an example of that.”
Tom Geerinckx, preparation manager at Antwerp X, said, “That’s why the new machine is being built in two phases. Our current machine is still running at full capacity and the first part of the new machine came on stream last month. We will begin building the second part in early 2023. The full PSM will be operational in time for the end-of-year period 2023 and will be able to sort 20,000 parcels per hour.”