New Zealand Post investing $8m in distribution centre at Christchurch Airport

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 18:09 02/03/2016
ROBYN EDIE/FAIRFAX NZ

NZ Post says its new Christchurch hub will boost efficiency and security.

FAIRFAX NZ
The postal company's new South Island hub will use the same new technology as its Auckland operation, pictured.

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New Zealand Post is investing more than $8 million on a hub at Christchurch Airport, despite losing millions of dollars a month on its postal business.

The airport company will purpose-build new premises for the taxpayer-owned company, with New Zealand Post leasing the hub until at least 2026.

New Zealand Post recently reported losing between $20m and $30m in the past year from falling letter volumes, and is using its profitable Kiwibank business to subsidise the post service. 

The company handled 60 million fewer items last year and has cut staff and introduced alternate-day mail deliveries to try stem its losses.

The company's chief operating officer for service delivery, Ashley Smout, said work on the new South Island Operations Centre was starting now. It should be finished in May next year.

Smout said the new facility would be state-of-the-art and include a "significant" investment of more than $8 million in automated parcel-sorting technology.

The premises would be a courier, parcels, processing and distribution hub for the company's Courier Post operation and its urgent courier service Pace.

The facility would be on airport land in the Dakota Park business park. It would be three times bigger than New Zealand Post's existing 5000 square metre hub in Wairakei Rd, which the company would vacate next year.

Standard mail handling would remain at the nearby Orchard Rd facility.

Smout said the new facility would link in with similar operations in Auckland and Hamilton and boost efficiency and security. 

It would enable New Zealand Post to process items faster and more accurately, handling up to 6000 parcels an hour.

As part of the lease agreement, the airport company would give New Zealand Post first refusal on a 2.5 hectare adjacent site to allow for future expansion.

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