ZIP Shipping News
ZIP's Shipping methods
In September 2005 ZIP has added a Calgary warehouse to the original Ottawa one, and in October added a Mississauga warehouse. A Vancouver warehouse opened in June 2006.
Formerly, ZIP used what they call a "hybrid" air/post combination to send discs out. Batches of a day's outbound disc shipments were sent by same-day air from Ottawa to a number of large cities (Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax) for direct injection into a Canada Post sorting plant there. ZIP claims things are designed to meet the sorting plant night shift deadlines so that it is the equivalent of mailing in the target city on the same day. With each new warehouse the number of gateway routings needed decreases, and Ottawa->Halifax, Ottawa->Montreal, and Calgary[?]->Winnipeg are likely the only ones remaining. There are still some such as Calgary/BC, but many of the older ones may now just be mailed from the warehouse city. Returns to ZIP are just normal Canada Post mail.
READING YOUR ZIP label
(this is just my interpretation - none of this information was provided by or checked with ZIP)
You should be able to get a general sense of how ZIP is doing by decoding the label on your mailers.
Drop me a line if you see an inventory number outside the range I've run into so far.
PO Box 9641 Station T
4009 23 St. NE
PO BOX 98189 RPO QUEEN CARLAW
PO BOX 6550 Station Terminal
The first two letters are just the customer's province. So shipments to me in Yellowknife show NT14 when sent from the Ottawa facility (via the Calgary Canada Post plant), and NT30 when sent from the Calgary facility. NB11 and NS11 would represent items sent from the Ottawa facility to the Halifax Canada Post plant for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia customers respectively.
ANYONE SEEING A NUMBER NOT ON MY CHART, PLEASE LET ME KNOW.
Some ZIP Shipping Historical notes
ZIP is apparently experimenting with improving shipping times to some parts of the country. Recent shipments (August 2004) to me in Yellowknife have had a postmark from an Edmonton sorting plant, and now the return envelopes go to an Edmonton P.O. box. Others have reported similar changes for Vancouver and Calgary destinations. All evidence suggests that they are not setting up separate warehouses, but instead shipping daily batches (presumably by some sort of fast express service) to various regional centres and directly injecting them into the Canada Post system at that point. This eliminates the Ottawa sorting plant and a more leisurely transit via Canada Post, who only have to do local delivery. Presumably metro areas they do this for could see occasional 2-business day service when things hit just right, if you assume ZIP sends out the shipments say late on a Monday, the destination Canada Post plant gets it on Tuesday, and it is sorted and delivered by Wednesday. For me in Yellowknife (or others remote from the destination plant) it might not be as speedy, since they would still be sorted and forwarded. But it might make 3 day shipments more common, and tend to reduce the 5 or 6 day abnormalities.ZIP is apparently experimenting with improving shipping times to some parts of the country. Recent shipments (August 2004) to me in Yellowknife have had a postmark from an Edmonton sorting plant, and now the return envelopes go to an Edmonton P.O. box. Others have reported similar changes for Vancouver and Calgary destinations. All evidence suggests that they are
ZIP hasn't made any mention of any of this, and presumably some of it may still be in testing and subject to change or discontinuation if it doesn't work out. A ZIP source had no details to provide, but suggested this as a description:
Oct 26/2004 - ZIP has recently introduced new envelopes (smaller dimensions). They also seem to have stopped using an Edmonton return address, as mine are going back to Ottawa. I haven't yet heard if Vancouver and Halifax return addresses are still being used. One of my new envelopes had an Edmonton postmark, so they still seem to be doing the outbound "injection" speedup.
Zip.ca appears to be quietly evolving an innovative hybrid approach to shipping that is accelerating both delivery and returns.