That's Christmas sorted: Inside the vast Royal Mail depot that is dealing with half a million presents a dayGiant temporary facility will sort four million parcels in the run-up to ChristmasBoom in online shopping is behind spike in demandMore than 300 seasonal staff will handle deluge of post
19:07 GMT, 10 December 2012
Here's where Christmas is sorted on a giant scale – a massive postal centre dealing with half a million parcels a day.
The giant temporary facility has been set up to handle the avalanche of online shopping over the festive period.
More than 300 seasonal staff have been taken on to run the sorting centre in Swindon, Wiltshire – one of eight set up by the Royal Mail around Britain.
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Vast: The warehouse will handle over 200,000 parcels a day in the lead up to Christmas peaking at over 500,000 parcels a day two weeks before Christmas
Santa's Little Helpers: The busy scene inside the new Royal Mail parcel sorting hub in Swindon on the busiest day of the year for the mail service
It will operate for five weeks and will be at its busiest tomorrow when it will process around 500,000 items.
In total more than four million parcels will be sorted there and sent around the world, hopefully all in time for Christmas.
The Royal Mail said the centre was set up in response to the boom in websites like Amazon and eBay.
Global: Parcels will be dispatched and received from all over the world
Empty: This picture of the facility on the day it opened gives a sense of scale of the operation
Seasonal: The massive facility has been set up to deal with the growth in online shopping
SNOWED UNDER: POST BY NUMBERS
Eight – Number of temporary facilities
Five – Weeks it will operate
300 – Seasonal staff employed
500,000 – Items it is set to process tomorrow
Four million – Parcels it will sort
Mark Higson, managing director of operations and modernisation, said: 'Christmas is the busiest time of year for Royal Mail and our customers.
'Royal Mail has invested in eight dedicated parcel sort centres to increase our scale and improve our flexibility during this important time of year for our customers.
'As we do every year, we encourage people to post early and order presents early to help us spread the workload of handling the festive mailbag in the run up to Christmas.'
The other depots are in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bolton, Tamworth, Peterborough, Swansea and Greenford, London.
Around 100 postal workers in south Bristol staged a 24-hour walk-out today on their busiest week of the year
The Communication Workers Union said the action was taken because members are being asked to do more work with fewer people.
Over 40,000 households and businesses were affected.
Royal Mail says it is bringing in managers from across the country to prevent a backlog.
VIDEO: Timelapse of what the busiest day of the year looks like for a Royal Mail depot
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It was only opened in late November, just in time for the Christmas rush
Busy: There are a further seven facilities across the UK
Temporary: The centre will wrap up after five weeks as demand wanes following the Christmas rush
Network: The other depots are in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Bolton, Tamworth, Peterborough, Swansea and Greenford