You’re waiting on a delivery from PostNL and you have received a “The Item is Processed at the PostNL Sorting Center” tracking update.
What does this mean exactly? Has your package reached your country or is it still in transit? What do you do if your tracking is stuck on this alert?
Let’s take a look…
Summary: The Item is Processed at the PostNL Sorting Center
“The Item is Processed at the PostNL Sorting Center” simply means that the shipment has arrived at a PostNL sorting center. A package can enter a PostNL facility during departure from the origin country, as well as arrival in a transit or destination country.
The Item is Processed at the PostNL Sorting Center – Guide
Essentially, PostNL sorting centers act as hubs along the transit route that a shipment takes between the origin and destination country.
If the alert is triggered at the beginning of the shipment, the package has arrived at a PostNL facility in the origin country where it will be sorted for dispatch to the destination country.
Sometimes, the package will need to pass through a transit country en route to the recipient’s address.
In this case, the shipment will pass through another PostNL sort facility inside the transit country so that can be sorted and dispatched toward the destination country.
Finally, the item will reach the country where delivery will take place. Upon arrival, it will be processed through another PostNL sorting center before being distributed to the location of the recipient.
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So Where is My Package When I Receive this Update?
Taking the above into account, your package could be in one of three places when you receive the “The Item is Processed at the PostNL Sorting Center”; inside the origin, transit country, or arrived in the destination country.
You can ascertain which of these it is by looking at the tracking alerts you have received so far.
If you receive this update close to the beginning of the journey, (after an “Item has been pre-advised to PostNL” alert, for example), you know that the package is still inside the origin country.
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If you receive the “The Item is Processed at the PostNL Sorting Center” update shortly after the “The item has arrived at transit airport” alert, it is clear that your package is moving through a transit country, (see screenshot above).
If you receive this update after a “The consignment has arrived in the country of destination” update, well, you get the point.
Essentially, the supporting information will provide you with the details you need to follow the progress of your package.
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My Tracking is Stuck on “The Item is Processed at the PostNL Sorting Center”
Let’s face it, you have probably reached this article because something has gone wrong and your tracking is stuck on this update.
So, what should you do?
First, it is a good idea to manage your expectations. How long has your tracking been stuck?
PostNL is used by eCommerce platforms based in China, (AliExpress, Shein, etc). Depending on the service speed you opted for, deliveries from these vendors can take weeks.
Arrivals into Europe can be especially susceptible to delay if they pass through Liege Linehaul in Belgium. This would be considered a transit country for your shipment, (unless you live in Belgium of course).
PostNL tracking can end up stuck while the package sits inside Liege awaiting the next step of the journey to take place, namely transit toward the destination country.
Most of the time, all you can do is wait it out.
Furthermore, PostNL Sorting centers based in the origin country can also face delays if the availability of a cargo plane cannot meet the demand of outgoing shipments.
Covid is still an issue in China and is impacting the situation here greatly.
I have three recommendations if your tracking ends up stuck for between 7 and 14 days, however.
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Universal Tracking App
The first is to simply try your tracking code in a universal tracking app.
It doesn’t happen so much with PostNL, however, in any circumstances where they might have handed over your item to a third-party carrier, tracking data will be created elsewhere.
You can always contact PostNL too, of course.
It is likely that you will be told that everything is under control if an economy service speed has been used. Remember, delivery times for some Chinese eCommerce platforms can take weeks.
That being said, receiving confirmation on the location of the package and that nothing has gone wrong, is reassuring.
Likewise, if an issue has occurred, at least the PostNL can now begin to look into it.
Be Aware of Your Buyer Guarantee Period
If your PostNL delivery is the result of you purchasing products from an eCommerce platform, you should make yourself aware of the relevant buyer guarantee periods.
This will cover you if your package doesn’t arrive.
AliExpress has a 60-day period. As this begins to run out you can open a dispute through the platform. In situations where you do not receive your order, you will get your money back or have a replacement sent.
Overall, a “The Item is Processed at the PostNL Sorting Center” tracking update means that the package is passing through a PostNL facility where it will be sorted before being dispatched on the next part of its journey toward the destination.
This is a normal logistical procedure.
However, if the tracking gets stuck for an inordinate amount of time, follow the instructions above to begin making inquiries.
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. 🙂