Royal Mail breaks ground on Midlands super-hub

Royal Mail has begun construction of a new automated parcel hub in Daventry, that is set to be opened in 2023.

Once the hub is fully operational it will be able to process over one million mail items a day, making it the largest hub in the Royal Mail network.

The changes to UK consumer retail habits in the UK, brought about by the pandemic, have led to strong growth in parcel volumes through Royal Mail. Domestic account volumes have grown by 51% while Royal Mail Tracked 24/28 and tracked returns saw 72% growth year on year. On the busiest day in 2020 it processed 2.5 million Tracked parcels.

The Royal Mail Daventry hub is situated close to the Daventry International Rail Freight Interchange (DIRFT), and has transport links to major cities close by, as well as a number of warehousing and fulfilment centres of several major retailers.

As well as featuring a state-of-the-art automated parcel sorting system, the hub will offer a Vehicle Operating Centre, a Fleet Workshop facility, brand-new staff facilities as well as a rail terminal, enabling an increase in the amount of mail transported efficiently and sustainably.

Beumer Group is responsible for the construction of the fully-automated parcel sorting system (APSS) that will be housed within. Meanwhile the site is being built by Prologis.

Simon Thompson, Royal Mail CEO, said: “Our business is accelerating and this state-of-the-art parcel hub in the Midlands will allow us to seize the market opportunity and continue to deliver great service for our customers at 31 million doorsteps up and down the country. I am sure our team are looking forward to the first day of operation as much as I am.”

Chris Heaton-Harris MP said: “It’s great news that Royal Mail has decided to make such a substantial investment in a parcels hub in my Daventry constituency. This will give a welcome boost to the local economy. With the boom in online shopping, my constituency is exceptionally well positioned via both road and rail networks to ensure these items are delivered as quickly as possible after purchasing. I look forward to visiting the new automated site when fully operational.”

Phil Oakley, Vice President, Leasing & Development, Prologis UK, said: “Royal Mail’s decision to locate its largest UK parcel hub at DIRFT is great news for the local economy and the ecommerce companies located on Prologis DIRFT who rely on the company’s delivery services. Proximity to the new Royal Mail unit means companies can confidently extend order picking times and still achieve next day delivery for their customers.”

Stephan Heessels, Divisional Director, Beumer Group Logistic Systems, said: “Royal Mail’s new Midlands hub will be another excellent example of how a parcel distributor can ensure ergonomics-based design of its high-speed sortation systems.  The system seamlessly combines system design, operator safety and careful parcel handling.  The hub will enable Royal Mail to process parcels more efficiently across their network in turn helping ecommerce companies quickly get their parcels to online customers. The new automation not only means processing more parcels faster, but the modern design of the system also supports workflows to be performed in a safer more secure way – than ever before. We are proud to have been selected once again to support Royal Mail with positioning themselves at the leading edge of operating efficiency and ergonomics.”