How does Santa Claus manage to deliver all those Christmas presents and cards around the world every year? Well, with KLM Cargo’s help, of course. I paid a visit to Express and Postal Solutions and saw with my own eyes how they get all hands on deck during the busy month of December to deliver all those packages on time to their happy recipients.
One foggy afternoon, I reported to the duty manager, Stefan. He gave me a tour of Cargo Building 1 and showed me the wonderful world of KLM Cargo at Schiphol. I traded in my high heels for a very fashionable pair of safety shoes, donned my fluorescent safety vest, and followed Stefan to the shed.
We arrived at the European conveyor belt in the giant hall. Despite the busy time of year, everything appeared calm and well ordered. Everything just rolls along, literally and figuratively, like clockwork. In this part of the shed, bags full of mail were coming in from all around the world. After recording the bar codes, the mail bags went on to the conveyor belts to Europe, the USA, or some other intercontinental destination.
Then, hard workers sorted all the mail quickly and efficiently according to the three-letter code of their destinations and placed everything in the transport carts. It’s a tough job. The mail bags can weigh up to 25 kilos. The loading and preparation of the carts is a careful operation.
A well-oiled machine
December is the busiest month at Express and Postal Solutions. The growth of online shopping certainly has a lot to do with that. The great majority of packages go to New York City. Also a great number of products come from the United States and China. Most of them are smartphone covers and watches.
Every day, between 6:00 in the morning and 11:00 o’clock at night, about a hundred men roll up their sleeves to get the job done. Their colleagues in the offices are also ready to spring into action during the Christmas rush. Here, too, many hands make light work.
Every week, close to a million packages and mail bags pass through the hands of the cargo workers. The process runs like a well-oiled machine. Everyone knows what has to happen and that’s clear for the visitor to see.
Sharing the tasks
I also had the chance to look in at the rest area. I was welcomed by a poster featuring a scantily clad lady. The gentlemen were enjoying a cup of coffee and had a moment to recover during a well-deserved break. In the meantime, the team leader showed me how the tasks are divided up. Using a smartphone and their own app, the chauffeurs can plan their schedules to transport and load the containers. And the team leader oversees the process.
Outside, a new load of cargo arrived while, on the other side, a complete row of transport carts stood ready to depart. Dozens of containers of every size and shape were lined up at the edge of the apron, marked with their flight number, weight, and destination.
Finally, I got a sneak preview of the new, advanced system being built right now. Very soon, with the help of its high-tech system, Express and Postal Solutions will be able to process mail and packages from customers around the world even more efficiently.
Still feeling impressed by what I had seen, I exchanged my black steel-toed safety shoes for my trusty high heels. The trip to KLM Cargo Express and Postal Solutions was so interesting! So that’s what happens behind the scenes at the great Christmas mail show. Now I can only hope that, among all those packages from Santa Claus, there’s one with my name on it.