In 2022 bpost announced that a new sorting machine would be installed at Antwerp X. The first section of the machine was in use by the end of the year. The installation of the machine was completed today. The sorting centre can process twice as many parcels as with the old machine. bpost continues to invest in Belgium and in its parcel processing infrastructure.

Last autumn bpost brought the first section of its new parcels sorting machine (PSM) onstream at the Antwerp X sorting centre alongside the old machine. The old machine has now been completely dismantled and the new machine is fully operational.

The new PSM transforms Antwerp X from a regional to a national sorting centre

The new machine targets high capacity and efficiency.

It more than doubles sorting capacity: from 9,000 to 20,000 parcels per hour.

  • The modern 360° scanner on the PSM scans the barcode even when it is on the bottom or side of the parcel. As well as the destination, the scanner registers the weight and size of each parcel.
  • The machine has 160 chutes to transfer parcels in containers for 400 different destinations. While Antwerp X used to sort parcels mostly bound for addresses in the Antwerp region, the sorting centre can now handle larger volumes, including parcels bound for addresses outside the region. This transforms Antwerp X from a regional to a national sorting centre.
  • The machine is equipped with an automated brake function on the chutes reducing the risk of damage to parcels.
  • The four additional extendable input conveyers, which can be extended right into the truck, hand customers the possibility to drop off parcels in bulk at Antwerp X straight from the truck without the need for pallets or containers.
  • Parcels are sorted more rapidly, which enables bpost to offer later drop-off times to some customers.
  • The new machines sort larger formats, which cuts the number of parcels requiring manual sorting.

Antwerp X is ready for the parcel peak

Parcel volumes traditionally shoot up even before Black Friday. bpost has already started preparing for the busy end-of-year period. The 400-plus Antwerp X workforce will be bolstered by an additional 100 or so temporary colleagues to deal with the surge. During the end-of-year period, PSM will run at full capacity to meet the needs of all customers.

Jos Donvil, CEO bpost: ”Parcel volumes have still to stop growing and the peaks we hit during the end-of-year period grow year on year. To be able to handle the growth investing in a new sorting machine was essential. We have worked on this project for five years and we obviously set ourselves the target of hitting milestones ahead of the busy periods so we could support our customers in the best possible way. The investment in the Antwerp X sorting centre shows bpost’s ambition to be the preferred partner in e-commerce logistics, while also giving due consideration to the development and work environment of our employees.”

Antwerp X facts and figures

  • PSM:
    160 destination-specific chutes > national parcel sorting centre
    360° parcel scanning: size, weight, barcode
    Conveyer length of new PSM: > 1.2km
    Parcels sorted per day: normally between 75,000 and 95,000; peak periods between 130,000 and 200,000
  • More than 400 permanent employees + up to 100 additional temporary staff during the peak
  • Antwerp X total surface area: 55,000m², of which for parcels: +/- 36,000m²
  • Hybrid sorting centre (letters and parcels). Letters sorted per day: between 1m and 1.1m

Source: bpost