An Post has opened a new €15m automated parcel processing centre in west Dublin.
The Dublin Parcel Hub (DPH) is seen as a key milestone in the company's transformation from letters to e-commerce.
The new 50,000 square metre facility will significantly increase An Post's parcel processing capacity.
It says the DPH "will be a vital gateway to international trade for leading Irish brands like Eason, Brown Thomas, Carrolls Irish Gifts, Blarney Woollen Mills, Arnotts and Carraig Donn."
It will see 13,000 parcels processed every hour with 90% automation.
A new self-learning system from German group Beumer can recognise all Irish locations, and parcels are dispatched directly to local delivery units.
Since last Friday, the DPH has handled more than one million parcels generated by online shoppers over Black Friday and so-called Cyber Monday.
This year, An Post says it will handle 16 million parcels from the UK alone, five million from the US, Canada and Brazil - and over one million from Germany.
EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan turns on the machines for An Post’s new Global Parcel Hub in Dublin pic.twitter.com/Bk7ojJpiT6
— Andrew Lowth (@AndrewLowth1) December 6, 2019
David McRedmond, An Post CEO, says: "We're ambitious for An Post and for Ireland in the international e-commerce world.
"This hub is a significant investment in Ireland's economic infrastructure, providing Irish business and consumers with the world's most advanced technology coupled with An Post's expertise, connecting them to global markets and linking international business to every address in Ireland.
"With over 50% of Irish retail now online, the Dublin Parcel Hub sits right at the centre of a new world order of global trading and shopping for customers."
Managing director of An Post Mails & Parcels, Garrett Bridgeman, adds: "With parcel volumes growing at 40% per annum, An Post needed to make a step change into parcel automation.
"We believe that Ireland can become a world leader in e-commerce and the DPH is an important milestone in this development."
The European Investment Bank (EIB) recently approved a €40m loan to to drive its digital, retail and green transformation.
This includes more than 750 fully electric vehicles to be used for local deliveries across the country.