Logistics giant UPS Inc. is continuing to expand its e-commerce parcel handling facilities, announcing Friday that it would spend $175 million to double the capacity of its main Columbus, Ohio, ground package hub.
When completed in the fall of 2018, the 375,000-square-foot addition and retrofit will double sorting capacity to more than 63,000 packages processed per hour, thanks to advanced technology and operations automation.
The project is part of a multi-year plan by UPS to modernize its global network operations and capacity. The company announced in August it was in the process of fully automating its 30 busiest U.S. package and delivery hubs, a four-year program that will yield 20 to 25 percent in productivity improvements per facility by the time the work is done in 2020. And in November, the company said it would build a $400 million, 1.2-million-square-foot regional package sorting hub in Atlanta.
For the Columbus project, UPS will install systems that use sorting, processing, and data-capture technology to increase the building's flexibility to efficiently route packages through a maze of belts and conveyors. Six-sided decode tunnels will replace traditional scanning to rapidly capture package information from address labels. And high-speed "smart label" applicators will place labels on packages to give personnel instructions for proper routing and loading on local delivery vehicles.
"Columbus has grown as a UPS transit point for commercial and residential e-commerce packages moving across the country," Derick Craft, president of the UPS Great Lakes District, said in a release. "We appreciate support by the city and state to be part of plans that optimize the UPS network. Our people will continue reliable service as we maintain daily pickup and delivery operations throughout construction."