Enhanced Equipment: the future for postal receptacles

Addressing the increased volumes of bulky packaging in the postal pipeline

IPC has launched a project to address the increased volumes of bulky packaging in the postal pipeline due to the rapid and sustained growth in global e-Commerce. IPC’s Enhanced Equipment project focuses mainly on the physical consolidation of bulky items and aims at providing durable equipment in a commonly shared equipment pool. Ultimately this will increase performance, efficiency and reduce the environmental footprint of postal delivery.

Bulky packaging is frequently used by e-sellers to protect the items purchased online, commonly referred to as bulky items. The main characteristic of these items consists in their relative light weight compared to their size.

Bulky items distributed by e-sellers have led to an increase in the postal total tonnage carried by air and road, and has driven the demand for ‘cubic’ space (m3) to transport mail to a far greater extent.

Posts currently use a variety of equipment including roll cages, pallets, air containers, mail bags (see picture on the right), mail trays, but these receptacles are seldom ideal for very small bulky items, which leads to excessive equipment handling or inefficient use of transport capacity. Neither of which is economical nor ecological. 

Since June 2014, the IPC Enhanced Equipment project has involved a broad range of stakeholders, resulting in a thorough assessment of the requirements. Benchmark and Pilot tests have already been completed in ‘live’ international post operational environments across nine countries in 2014. Complementary tests have also been conducted by IPC with carriers within their facilities. The project should be rolled out in 2015, becoming fully operational in 2016.

IPC is convinced that this project will enable e-sellers to pre-load bulky items per country of destination, thus potentially by-passing or reducing domestic processing, as IPC’s Pool Services have already proved through the introduction of mail trays. Furthermore, providing standard equipment facilitates the implementation of customer and carrier booking based on ‘cubic’ space (m3). This would ultimately encourage e-sellers to improve their own packing material and practices. It would also provide a means of achieving better protection and thereby encourage e-sellers to reduce their dependency on excessively dimensioned item packaging.

For more information contact Trevor Peirce, Enhanced Equipment Project Manager, IPC.