2,000 packages processed in 17 seconds? No sweat. At least not for UPS.

The parcel giant prides itself on swift service based on an internal organization system practiced every day at its 5.2 million-square-foot processing facility in Louisville, Ky. Little known fact: At the core of the company’s parcel transport process is not its familiar collection of brown trucks, but rather, its air fleet — 230 Boeing jets.  

Engadget recently spent time at the Louisville facility–dubbed Worldport–and learned how the company sorts through parcels at such a staggering rate. Some interesting details: To ensure premium speed, UPS jets land in Louisville roughly every minute during peak hours to unload and reload. In addition to a group of on-staff meterologists who direct and troubleshoot with the aircraft, Worldport also has about a dozen “hot” planes that it can deploy in the event of a plane malfunction. In all, the UPS planes consume more than 2.3 million gallons of fuel every three days.

Inside the warehouse, about 1.2 million wheels and barrings make up the detailed parcel sorting systems that attach to the planes and route packages. Worldport’s 115 miles of conveyor belts and 2.6 miles of tilt-tray sorters help unload and reload packages–a process  takes about 45 minutes per plane. Worldport turns over approximately 130 aircraft each day.

Exhausted yet? Well, Worldport never sleeps — men and machines work ’round the clock to keep things shipping.

Vide0: Inside Worldhub

Read more: Is 3D Technology the Next Big Thing for Field Service?

About Maeghan Ouimet

Maeghan joined Original9 with over 5 years of media experience — reporting and writing on business, culture and technology trends for Rolling Stone Australia, Boston Magazine, and Inc. Magazine. She is a self-admitted start-up geek and semi-avid Bikram yoga practitioner.

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