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Watch: Inside the largest mail facility in the Southern Hemisphere

Australia Post Parcel Facility at Redbank.

The largest mail facility in the Southern Hemisphere has opened at Redbank ahead of what Australia Post predicts will be its busiest peak Christmas period in history.

The new $240 million facility at Redbank Motorway Estate is the size of eight football fields, has more than 500 people employed on site and is loaded with technology including Automated Guided Vehicles, robotic arms and parcel pickers.

It will be able to process 700,000 parcels per day at full capacity.

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.

“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 the new facility.

“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,” Mr Fletcher said.

“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.”

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

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

Over the coming peak Australia Post expects to 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 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,” Mr Black said.

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