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The Gateway Postal Facility—Canada Post’s Literal Powerhouse

Kristine Owram’s recent Financial Post article, “Behind the Scenes at Canada Post’s Largest Processing Plant” delves first-handedly into the inner workings of our direct mail industry. Owram discusses Canada Post’s “sea of changes” in response to decreasing lettermail rates, and presents the Internet as a fierce motivator of this decline. However, Owram also proposes a positive Internet-based influence on Canada Post, by gesturing toward the steady boom in parcel mail.

As more Canadians look to online shopping every year, increased online orders naturally create increased direct mail. Soaring parcel quantities in Canada Post’s fourth quarter—the holiday quarter—turn The Gateway Postal Facility into a rapid, well-oiled machine. This facility, located in Mississauga, Ontario, processes 70% of all parcels mailed within Canada, and Owram takes us there—behind-the-scenes:

“I was particularly struck by the level of automation at the plant. As parcels come in, they’re sent up a conveyor belt to a camera that photographs them from six different angles to capture the barcode or address. It’s then assigned to a specific square on the conveyor belt which carries it along to a chute with a crate at the bottom that’s designated for Ottawa or Montreal or Vancouver or wherever that package is headed —”

The reporter shares that the 1.1 million square foot Gateway Postal Facility handles over 1 million packages a day—or 56,000 pieces per hour—during its busiest holiday schedules. This most important facility also sees a 25% increase each year and, on peak days, Canada Post’s plants will process approximately 1,250 parcels per minute. The might of this literal powerhouse is indeed a postal spectacle.

For Kristine Owram’s full article and the accompanying video diary of her direct mail adventure, please click here:

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