La Poste today remains number 1 in France in the delivery of parcels, whether they come from online purchase, which now represents 90% of the volume, or from sending between individuals. In Toulouse, nearly 200 employees, the maximum reached at Christmas time, take care of this enormous task.
In Toulouse, in the business area of Fondeyre to the north of the city, there are large warehouses and wide roadways where thousands of heavy goods vehicles circulate on a daily basis. It is the nerve center of the delivery companies that converge in Toulouse, among which is the La Poste parcel sorting center, the “Capitoul”, a huge 12,000 m2 platform where nearly 180,000 parcels are currently in transit. per day.
“Since the beginning of November, we have noticed a constant increase in activity. Before, we’ll say that the Christmas rush started more in December, but now, with the addition of Black Friday, it starts much earlier, and we will go up to a peak that we estimate to be on December 14. », Says Sylvain Bincteux, the director of the site. That day, “we should go up to 241,000 packages,” said the official.
Here, where all the packages to the departments of Haute-Garonne, Tarn, Ariège, Hautes-Pyrénées and Aveyron have arrived, as well as to Spain and Portugal, we can see the boom in daily parcel delivery, with a 36% increase in volumes, for example, between November 2019 and November 2021. “The year 2020 does not count. With the pandemic, for us, it was as if it had been Christmas every day in terms of intensity, ”emphasizes Sylvain Bincteux.
1 billion per year in 2030
An anecdotal anomaly that does not change the underlying trend, namely a sharp increase in online shopping which is only just beginning, whether new or second hand. On the 19 “Colissimo” platforms scattered throughout France, 3 million parcels are now in transit per day, “when in 2018, making a day with 2 million parcels was exceptional”. Thus the bar of 4 million parcels per day should be reached within just a few years. It’s simple, from 471 million Colissimo per year in 2020, La Poste plans to reach 1 billion in 2030, more than double.
Platforms equipped with the latest generation machines, such as those in the Paris region, for example, are already able to sort up to 40,000 parcels per hour. Still far from what is being done in Toulouse, which already has material with impressive speed.
In the warehouse, a gigantic carousel, which resembles a mechanical serpent 374 meters long zigzagging above heads between steel pylons, swallows several thousand packages every hour.
These boxes and envelopes pass through a kind of scanner capable of analyzing in a fraction of a second the five faces of the object – the underside is not scanned, unlike what can be done with new devices – to detect the label there and obtain the destination postal code. Depending on this result, the package is then automatically tipped into the corresponding box to be sent to the correct truck. In all, no less than 334 trips are possible. The process is impressive.
Do more with so much
Outside, trucks come and go in a large-scale broom. It passes 400 per day. A figure that has not changed since 2018, despite the significant increase in the number of packages sorted. “We are trying to better distribute the packages in the trucks and in the boxes, we are using new trailers for the trucks to increase volumes … So that even if the number of packages has increased by 30%, we have no more trucks in circulation, ”says Sylvain Bincteux. Because ecology must also be taken into account in the delivery equation.