IPC Tray Pool Services

The IPC Tray Pool is a shared pool of standard and durable plastic trays that postal operators use to transport international letter mail.

The IPC Tray has a unique design -“one size fits all” concept. It can carry C5, C6 and C4 mail, thus ensuring high fill rates and minimizing the need for other types of containers. The trays are fully recyclable and designed to make lifting, carrying, and handling easier for everyone. It does not have any sharp edges and is easy to carry handles. Moreover, it has a maximum allowed weight of 10 kg.

The Tray Pool is centrally managed, which allows IPC to balance and manage the stock, allowing for purchasing economies of scale and effective purchase planning for future requirements.

In the past, priority mail was transported in a myriad of different containers: sacks, plastic tubs, cardboard trays, etc., all different in shapes and sizes. As the mail travelled the globe, containers of each postal operator had to be stored and then returned to their original operator at high costs, some damaged and it made the process very complicated. With the introduction of the IPC standard, durable plastic mail trays, transport of international priority mail has been made easy, effective and low in cost.

Facts & figures

  • Launched in 2001
  • Used by 22 postal operators: An Post, bpost, Canada Post, Correos, CTT Correios, Deutsche Post DHL Group, ELTA-Hellenic Post, Iceland Post, Le Groupe La Poste, Magyar Posta, Österreichische Post, POST Luxembourg, Poste Italiane, Posten Norge, Posti, PostNL, PostNord, Poczta Polska, Royal Mail, Swiss Post and USPS
  • Around 460,000 trays currently in the Pool stock
  • Less than 0.2% of the trays have been removed from the network for recycling since the start of the Tray Pool in 2001
  • Around 5m trays exchanged among the pool participants in 2015
  • Used across 900 international routes
  • Managed and monitored via CAPE Vision with the Tray Management Function (TMF)

Tray Pool benefits

  • Reduced complexity and costs of returning individual member-owned trays or bags
  • Reduced storage, handling, and transport costs, as there is no need for storage and repatriation
  • Consistent supply of tray units to meet forecasted requirements
  • Improved efficiency of international priority mail exchange: the mail is well protected, therefore it is kept undamaged, dry and clean, which makes automated sorting smoother and more productive
  • Unique design of the tray – according to a one-size-fits-all concept – and can carry C5, C6 and C4 mail items, thus ensuring high fill rates
  • Stacking and nesting possibilities thanks to its uniform size and improved design, reducing storage space in the production areas as well as in storage facilities
  • Easier barcode scanning and removal of old labels thanks to a dedicated cross-hatched area on the lid for the receptacle label
  • Great durability, reducing the need for replacements
  • Fully recyclable and environmentally friendly