Purolator national hub up and running

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

Purolator has officially opened its new 443,084-square-foot national hub – the largest and most technologically advanced sorting facility in its network.

Located near several major highways in Toronto, the National Hub triples the capacity of Purolator’s former Ontario sortation facility and increases its network capabilities through new automation, scanning and sorting technology. It is twice the size of the next biggest Purolator facility.

The Purolator National Hub mail sort conveyor sorts parcels to their final destinations using 177 bags and 70 bin chutes at a rate of 15,000 parcels per/hour.

Purolator broke ground for the hub in May 2020, during the first wave of the pandemic.

At full capacity, it will process up to 70,000 parcels per hour, tripling the capacity of the previous facility. The new hub also includes technology that can unload a trailer in under 10 minutes or up to 12,000 parcels per hour – 10 times the amount possible through manual efforts.

Purolator CEO John Ferguson said the facility has opened just in time to handle the growth in e-commerce, which hit $95.02 billion in sales in 2021. Over the past two years, Purolator has seen an overall volume increase of almost 15 percent with a 40 percent increase in retail e-commerce volume.

The conveyor system spans over four kilometres.

The hub marks a shift away from a standardized sortation model to a more tailored approach that uses state-of-the-art technology to segment parcels by size, weight, and dimension.

“Innovation drives every business decision we make, and this is especially true as we work to modernize Purolator’s extensive network,” Ferguson said.

“We can now increase our responsiveness and dramatically scale up or down to meet the need for industry-specific solutions and the demand for time-sensitive express shipments.”

The hub is fitted with spiral chutes that provide ample head clearance and additional space for teams to move freely in the surrounding areas.

To ensure a safe working environment for the 1,000 employees working there, the company integrated global industry best practices and technology, increased safety features, such as guard rails and sensors, and installed ergonomic equipment to reduce the risk of physical injury. Amenities  include a dedicated multi-faith space, a 6,500 sq-ft cafeteria and patio, a wellness room and a training centre that is double the size of the previous location.

This peak shipping season, Purolator anticipates it will again process over 1.5 million packages a day throughout its busiest week at the end of November.