The story of how a very special package – with a gas tank from Triumph Motorcycle – made it to its customer in Seattle is one that is nothing short of extraordinary. This herculean feat was made possible thanks to one of the most impressive logistical operations in the world; the UPS Worldport in Louisville.
Located in the heart of Kentucky, this technological marvel is the largest automated package handling facility in the world. It is the center point of UPS’s worldwide air network, with over 300 flights arriving and departing daily. To put that into perspective, the hub handles a throughput of 500,000 packages per hour, and roughly two million packages a day. During peak seasons, this figure swells to over four million.
But what exactly happens inside the Worldport? At 10 pm, the night rush hour begins. Frontline supervisor Tyler Sawvell and his crew step in to unload and load aircraft on the ground. At the same time, guys like Terry Rigdon in the general operation center control every flight activity of the cargoplanes. Their goal is to get every aircraft, along with its cargo, to its right destination on schedule. However, as is often the case with air travel, weather can play a significant role in the success of their operations.
As we learn in a fascinating documentary, the hub is not immune to bad weather conditions, and thunderstorms can often cause a lot of trouble and delays. However, it’s how the crew at Worldport responds to these challenges that sets them apart. They remain committed to getting every package to its intended destination on time, battling against the odds every step of the way.
And that’s precisely what happened with the aforementioned gas tank. Due to thunderstorms, the entire area was put on an operations ban for 30 minutes. This meant that the outbound crew were not allowed to work, and they couldn’t unload any airplane. But through sheer persistence, hard work, and a never-give-up attitude, the Worldport crew was able to recover the lost time and ensure that the package made it to its destination in Seattle – on time and in perfect condition.