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23 Sep 2021

Special delivery

Exciting developments are underway with one of our most valued customers. Driven by a surge in online shopping, NZ Post is expanding its airport campus footprint by 25% and adding another state-of-the-art sortation system that can process an astonishing 9,000 plus parcels per hour.

Jim Lynch, Programme Director at NZ Post, says the big picture is about accommodating new patterns in shopping and distribution, accelerated in part by the global pandemic.

"The expansion at our Christchurch Airport site, the Southern Operations Centre (SOC), is part of NZ Post’s 10-year plan for growth. Online shopping jumped 25% in 2020 and the trend is forecast to continue. We’re aiming to double our nationwide parcel processing volumes to 190 million annually by 2033."

- Jim Lynch, Programme Director at NZ Post

As part of the plan, NZ Post is developing key sites around the country including the SOC, whose strategic location at Dakota Park provides routing efficiencies and room for future growth. New technology is also being embraced: the site will feature a brand new, automated sortation solution for smaller parcels, developed in partnership with Daifuku, as well as a conveyer system for fragile and oversized items.

“The new machine for smaller parcels will be able to sort more than 9,000 items an hour. It has more than 600 chutes which direct parcels straight to the correct courier run. All of this will enable us to massively improve our capacity and ultimately get parcels delivered faster,” says Jim.

The expanded facility is due to be fully operational in 2022, when it will be renamed the Christchurch Processing Centre. Christchurch Airport Project Manager Natasha Evans says that working in stages has been key to delivering the project successfully.

"The main intricacy is that NZ Post needs to operate from the site while we are building. They have a very important job to do and we can’t disrupt that. We’ve divided the project into four phases to ensure that they can perform business as usual, and manage any airside implications as well."

- Natasha Evans, Christchurch Airport Project Manager

According to Jim the staged approach has worked well, with the NZ Post team able to process the usual volume of parcels since construction started.

“We’ve worked closely with the airport team to design and build the extension. As the owners of the building, they’ve organised the building side while we’ve focused on the internal fit out. It’s been a very collaborative approach and we’ve been grateful for their support,” he says.

Jim is excited about the Christchurch development and describes it as a game-changer for the business.

“NZ Post is the largest delivery business for online shopping in New Zealand. We’ve been around for 180 years and our growth will allow us to be around for many more years to come. It’s been great watching this project coming to life. I enjoy being part of the team that’s getting that special order to someone’s door, where it will put a smile on their face,” says Jim.

Speaking of smiles, one of NZ Post’s happy customers is John Raso, Christchurch Airport Property Portfolio Manager, who has been instrumental in enabling the development of this property solution for NZ Post.

"We are very privileged and proud to be an accommodation point of choice for the good team at NZ Post. It's great to see them expanding so retailers can enjoy a smooth transaction with their customers and we can all enjoy the products we purchase online."

- John Raso, Christchurch Airport Property Portfolio Manager