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UPS opens up new Atlanta-based ‘super hub’ operating facility

By Jeff Berman / / October 16th, 2018

Global transportation and logistics services provider UPS announced this week that it has officially opened up its second-largest United States-based, and fourth largest global network package operating facility.

Based in Atlanta, which is where the company’s global headquarters is located, this 1.2-million square-foot regional sortation and distribution (on a 321-acres site) will have the capability to sort roughly 100,000 parcels per hour and is part of an expanded network of hubs that UPS said are designed to improve efficiency, service levels, and reliability. And it added that the parcels will move through the facility through what it called a “highly orchestrated series of conveyors, chutes, belts, and ramps into waiting trailers for transfer to another UPS location, or into package delivery vehicles bound for area businesses and residents.

“UPS is installing high-tech systems that make our network more flexible, more resilient, and more anticipatory,” said George Willis, President of U.S. Operations for UPS, in a statement. “Atlanta is home to the largest of a new class of sortation centers, or super hubs, which enable us to optimize how we move shipments through a precisely managed network of more than 1,000 small package operating facilities in the United States.”

A UPS spokeswoman told LM that UPS continues to actively build out capacity in Georgia to efficiently accommodate the rapidly expanding e-commerce shipping needs of its commercial and residential customers in this fast-growing area.

“As a result of all of the company’s existing investments and operations in the area, coupled with excellent support from the State, County and City, it made good business sense to increase the company’s regional operations in this location,” she explained. “The project was announced early November 2016, and began processing packages on August 20, 2018.”

This new facility will mainly serve the southeastern U.S., with UPS noting that similar facilities will be opening up in Dallas/Ft. Worth. Texas; Phoenix, Ariz.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Indianapolis, Ind.

When asked what the primary benefits of this new facility are for shipper, the UPS spokesman said that the larger, regional package operations hubs like Atlanta increase speed and flexibility for moving packages through UPS’s global smart logistics network. The new regional hubs, she said, are powered by operations technology and network planning tools that efficiently integrate air and ground operations across the U.S. and around the globe, adding that these “super hubs” create more options for how packages are transported along the way to their final destinations. 

Other hubs in the UPS network, which are also highly automated, include the company’s WorldPort air cargo facility in Louisville, Ky., as well as the Chicago Area Consolidation Hub ground facility for truck and railway cargo. What’s more, UPS said its adding more than 350,000 pieces per hour or additional sortation capacity in the United States ahead of the 2018 holiday season,

Throughout Georgia, UPS employs more than 14,000 people in package delivery operations, ground freight, air gateway, data center, and additional functions.  UPS product and technology development, global network planning and other corporate headquarters activities are based in metro Atlanta.  This new regional ground package operations facility will add capacity to its network of operations in the area, according to the spokeswoman.

As for the main competitive advantages of this facility from a UPS perspective, the spokeswoman said that with connectivity to Georgia ports and contract logistics centers for healthcare, high-tech, aerospace and retail industry specialization, the area is well positioned for logistics growth.  

UPS noted the following metrics regarding the new Atlanta Regional Super Hub:

  • the hub's 100,000 packages per hour sort capacity is equivalent to roughly 1,700 per minute;
  • processing time/speed is 600 feet per minute;
  • there are 3,0000 full- and part-time (1,250 full-time equivalent) jobs;
  • more than 970 trucks for tractor-trailer staging;
  • 104 unload positions and 324 load positions
  • 18 miles of conveyor length;
  • three UPS Smart Labels applied per second
  • local delivery positions for 288 package cars;
  • 30%-to-35% more efficient than older, more manual facilities; and
  • a savings of about 117,000 gallons per day or 29 million gallons per year - 24/7 Support including Chat

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