NEW CASTLE — UPS opened a new high-speed package sorting center on Aug. 12 that is already handling more than 30,000 packages a day and could be handling more than 100,000 packages per day once the holiday season arrives.
The company anticipates doubling its current employment of 150 over the next 12 weeks as it hires seasonal workers to handle the increased volume. A UPS spokesman said that 35% its seasonal workers return to UPS after the holidays to permanent positions, and about a third of its total workforce started during the holidays.
The 86,000-square-foot center, which joins other Delaware delivery locations in Harrington and Wilmington, is the first to open in 34 years in UPS’s Chesapeake Region (Delaware, Maryland and parts of four other states), said District Operations Manager Rob Nichols. The new facility is located close to both Interstate 95 and Del. 1.
Nichols said the company is expanding in recognition of current growth and predictions calling for e-commerce to double by 2026. The new high-speed sorting center in New Castle adds about 70% more packaging processing power to support the growing demand in New Castle County and across the state.
“This center is bigger, faster, and has greater capacity” than our other locations in Delaware,” said Chesapeake District President Trayce Parker following a tour that highlighted automated technology that quickly moves packages through the scanning and sorting process while capturing data to increase delivery accuracy.
The New Castle will increase as the facility continues to ramp up to full capacity as the holiday season approaches. Officials said seasonal drivers will earn up to $21 per hour.
U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester injected a great deal of energy into the ribbon-cutting, calling the local operation a “family affair” and changing the branding for the UPS acronym to Unity, Professionalism, and Service from United Parcel Service.
The center, located at 721 Hamburg Road in New Castle, can handle 135 truck drivers but currently has about 75, said Project Manager Paul Bendixen.
The New Castle project incorporates LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) practices and has applied for LEED certification.
Company representatives declined to discuss competitors, including the impact on its volume of Federal Express recently deciding to stop shipping Amazon packages. But analysts say that Atlanta-based UPS is still supporting Amazon deliveries and generates 10% of its revenue from Amazon.
That relationship could be revisited down the road, but the analysts say Amazon and UPS need each other as the holiday shipping season approaches. While the Amazon delivery trucks seem to be everywhere throughout New Castle County, it still needs outside carriers to meet its shipping needs.
In fact, UPS reported a 30% increase in its next-day air-shipping volume during the second quarter as FedEx reduced its business with Amazon.
“UPS is building innovative solutions and partnering with e-commerce leaders to serve small, medium, and large businesses around the world,” a UPS spokesman said in an email response to a request for comment. “We don’t comment on any specific customer discussions.”
An Amazon spokesperson declined to discuss its traffic or capacity for its local distribution center on Centerpointe Drive in New Castle or its massive fulfillment center in Middletown.