Royal Mail has installed its latest high-speed parcel sorting machine in Manchester, capable of processing 157,000 parcels per day to help meet the shift in consumer demand for parcels and next-day delivery.
With parcel deliveries now representing almost £6 in £10 of Royal Mail’s revenue, the new fully automated sorting machine at Manchester Mail Centre will support the company’s ongoing transformation into even more of a parcels-led business.
There has been reports that Royal Mail is prioritising parcel deliveries during industrial action, which continues today [09 December], with further strikes planned 11, 14, 15, 23 and 24 December.
Royal Mail currently sorts more than 22 million parcels on average each week by automated means, with a total of 36 parcel sorting machines operating across the UK network.
With domestic parcel volumes up more than 30% compared to pre-pandemic levels, these machines strengthen Royal Mail’s drive to increase automation and operational efficiency across its business.
Grant McPherson, chief operating officer, Royal Mail, said: “Customers want more parcels, delivered the next day – including Sundays. We are investing in the latest technology to ensure we can meet this demand as we modernise our business. Our new parcel sorting machine in Manchester will help drive growth as we transform into an even more parcels-focused business.”
Royal Mail is aiming to reach 70% parcel automation by 2022-23 and the industry standard of 90% parcel automation by 2023-24.
However, some retailers are turning their backs on Royal Mail due to the ongoing disruption caused by strike action. Currys has switched to an alternative provider to ensure delivery in the run up to Christmas.
The electrical good retailer stressed that the move was just “for now”, and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) said that “business customers will be telling Royal Mail they need to get this sorted or they’ll lose contracts.”
The CWU’s members are calling for wage rises to keep pace with inflation, the union has stressed they want a resolution but “will not accept Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson’s job-destroying, asset-stripping, business-destroying agenda”.
Royal Mail responded that after months of talks it has shared a best and final offer for pay and change. The revised offer includes extensive improvements that have been made during the negotiations with the CWU, including an enhanced pay deal of 9% over 18 months and a number of other concessions to terms and agreements.