You’ve just received a tracking update from your latest ecommerce order and it states that the package has arrived at a “Domestic Sorting Centre”.
What does this mean exactly? Where are these centres based and is there anything you need to do?
Let’s take a look…
Summary: Domestic Sorting Centre
A “domestic” sorting centre is another name for local sorting centre. For outbound shipments to Europe and the US, it is the carrier facility local to the sender. Here the item is being sorted ready for dispatch overseas. For inbound shipments, it is the local “domestic” facility to the recipient.
Where is the Domestic Sorting Centre?
The clue is actually in the spelling of centre. This is the non-US spelling, and it is used by carriers that utilise the traditional English spelling of the word.
if you are based in American or Europe and you have made an e-commerce order from the far-east, your package is inside a domestic sorting centre, within the origin country of the shipment.
Domestic can be replaced by local, meaning local to the sender.
If you are reading this and you are based in say the Philippines and the package is inbound to you, the “domestic sorting centre” will be one near to your address, meaning delivery is not far away.
In this context “domestic sorting centres” are not located in the USA.
Example Tracking Updates
Here are some example tracking alerts that indicate that a package is either in or close to (or departed) a domestic sorting centre.
- “Arrived at Domestic Sorting Centre”: This update means that the package has reached the domestic sorting center and is about to undergo the sorting process.
- “Processed through Domestic Sorting Centre”: This means that package sorting has taken place and that the item is ready for the next stage of the shipment journey.
- “Departed from Domestic Sorting Centre”: This alert means that the package has left the sorting center and is en route to the next link in the delivery network.
Inside the Centre: What Happens?
Modern sorting centers leverage advanced technologies such as conveyor belts, automated sorting machines, and barcode scanners.
Upon arrival, your package will be scanned, (triggering the arrival alert mentioned above), with destination information being logged into the system.
Automated systems then categorize and route the packages for dispatch based on the provided information.
That doesn’t mean to say that everything is robots, AI and machines mind you.
Sorting centers are a hive of activity, with workers overseeing the process and intervening when necessary.
- Related Content: DHL “Processed at Local Distribution Center” Meaning
Is Your Package Close to Delivery at This Stage?
As discussed above, this alert will mean different things to different people.
Essentially, an inbound package from overseas (or a domestic package being shipped inside the country of origin) will be close to delivery at this stage.
It is a local sorting facility and the next step will be dispatch to the recipient’s address. You can expect your item within 2 or 3 days.
Conversely, an outbound package is still at the very beginning of the shipment journey.
The item is still inside the origin country and the entire overseas shipment process still has to take place. In other words, delivery is multiple days (sometimes weeks) away.
What to Do if Your Package is Stuck in the Centre?
Okay, I always like to leave a little info on what you should do if your package is stuck on a tracking update such as this one.
I understand the frustration. You’re waiting for your order to arrive and it seems as if the package isn’t moving.
The first thing is to manage expectations. Understand that low-budget carriers will not expedite your package delivery.
It is not unusual for shipments to get held up inside a domestic sorting centre and take several days to be processed through it.
1. Be Patient
With that in mind, step number one is to be patient.
Delays may occur due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather, increased shipping volumes, or other logistical challenges.
Remaining calm as the shipping process unfolds is often necessary.
2. Check Tracking Information
Review the tracking information for any additional details or alerts regarding the package’s status.
These universal tracking apps will scan hundreds of carrier databases for information about your shipment.
If there is any data out in the ether, you will be able to find it using one of these.
3. Contact the Carrier
If after an extended amount of time, the item really does seem to be stuck, you will need to contact the shipping carrier’s customer service for assistance.
They can provide more information on the package’s whereabouts, offer guidance on potential delays, and hopefully step in to mitigate the issue.
I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂