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Royal Mail has installed automated parcel sortation machinery in its Bristol Mail Centre to speed up the processing of parcels.

The new technology replaces a manual sorting process that can be both time consuming and physically demanding, often requiring two separate sorts to get parcels in the right place for despatch.

It will also increase Royal Mail’s capacity to process parcels at peak volumes by enhancing efficiency. Currently about 12 per cent of our parcels are machine sorted. The Company plans to increase that to over 80% within five years.

“The roll out of this new technology is transforming the way Royal Mail processes parcels which are continuing to grow in volumes,” said Simon Barker, National Operations Director, Royal Mail. “The technology will help us to speed up the passage of parcels to local mail centres. We have worked closely with our unions throughout this programme, and colleagues who work on the machine have said they prefer the quality of work compared to manual sorting.”

The Parcel Sorting Machine (PSM) is an intelligent system of conveyor belts and scanning technology that automatically sorts parcels for despatch to mail centres across the country.

The move comes as the Company upgrades its national network by rolling out parcel sorting machinery to all mail centres across the UK. The technology is being deployed to manage better the growing volumes of parcels that enter the Royal Mail network on a daily basis. It brings the sortation of parcels more in line with the sortation of letters, 90% of which are processed by automated machinery.

As the Universal Service Provider, the Company provides the delivery backbone for e-commerce in the UK. Parcels generated by UK retailers continue to be a key growth area for the Company. Within all size categories, next day parcels are expected to significantly outpace growth in other delivery time categories.