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November 13, 2014
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UPS Worldport Facts


Worldport is the largest fully automated package handling facility in the world. The operation currently turns over 130 aircraft daily, processing an average of 1.6 million packages a day with a record 4.2 million packages processed on Peak Day 2012.

Worldport history

Beginning in 1999, UPS undertook the largest capital project in the company’s history with the $1 billion expansion of its sort facility at Louisville International Airport. The expansion more than doubled the size of the air hub and increased sort capacity from 215,000 packages per hour to 304,000. Dubbed Worldport upon its 2002 completion, the facility initially grew from about 2 million square feet to 4 million.

By 2006, UPS needed to again expand Worldport. In a two-phase project, the company expanded its all-points air hub by 37 percent to 416,000 packages per hour. The second expansion was completed in April 2010, with the mammoth facility now measuring 5.2 million square feet, with a perimeter of 7.2 miles.

Looking to future possibilities, the facility’s design allows for further expansion to process up to a half million packages per hour.

Louisville Air Hub History

September 1982 UPS Next Day Air® service initiated
April 1999 Expansion of Louisville air hub begins, driven by strong growth in international and domestic express business; the project is dubbed Hub 2000.
September 2000 The first of three phases of the expansion opens, increasing sort capacity by 30,000 packages per hour. New automated processes and education programs help to lower employee turnover and retraining costs while increasing overall productivity.
July 2001 Second phase opens, adding another 30,000 packages per hour to the facility's sort capacity.
September 2002 The third and final phase opens, increasing sort capacity by 29,000 packages per hour.
May 2006 UPS announces plans for a new expansion that will increase Worldport's sort capacity by 37 percent - to 416,000 packages per hour. Phases 1 and 2 of the expansion are scheduled for completion by May 2010.
July 2009 UPS opens the first phase of the expansion project, increasing sort capacity to 350,000 packages per hour.
April 2010 UPS completes Worldport expansion.

Worldport Features

  • High-speed conveyors and "smart labels" read by overhead cameras facilitate the processing of documents, small packages and irregular-sized shipments.
  • Automated equipment and overall process improvements reduce the amount of time employees spend lifting and lowering packages while reducing the average package cycle-sorting span.
  • Newly developed IT systems rapidly transmit Customs information to expedite the movement of international shipments.
  • Specially designed docks and hub floors let workers move package containers easily from one area of the building to another via more than 1.2 million casters and ball transfer units
  • The new expansion plans included two new aircraft load/unload "wings" and associated aircraft staging ramps. Additional ramp space accommodates the new 747-400 cargo planes.
  • UPS also approved plans to build a new vehicle loading facility for its ground delivery network serving Louisville.
  • Like the initial Worldport expansion, UPS exceeded its goal to award at least 20 percent of the latest expansion project's general construction and site work budget to minority- and women-owned businesses.
  • Metropolitan College will continue to play a major role in helping attract and maintain employees for the expanded hub.


Worldport Hub


First Expansion


Latest Expansion

Size of Operation: 4,000,000 square feet 5,200,000 square feet (90 football fields)
Sort Capacity: 304,000 packages per hour
(expandable to 500,000)

350,000 packages per hour (Phase 1)
416,000 packages per hour (Phase 2)

Processing Time: Parcel = 8 - 43 min  
  Smalls Sort = 11 - 16 min  
  Incompatibles = 12 - 45 min  
Capital Investment: $1 billion+ $1 billion
Economic Impact:   $600 million+ in construction costs
Aircraft Docks: 44 70
Number of Conveyors: 19,000 33,496
Miles of Conveyors: 110 155
Scan Tunnels: 37 0
Camera Tunnels: 299 546
Tilt Tray Sorters: 15 - with 2.1 miles of track 19- 2.6 miles of track
Tilt Trays: 13,592 17,220
Unload Positions: 218 325
Load Positions: 1,100 1,520

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