Some of the links may be affiliate links, earning us a small commission if you decide to use them, allowing us to continue creating content. Read our FTC Disclosure

What is RDC Royal Mail – (Regional Distribution Centre)

You’ve recently checked your Royal Mail tracking and it contains the acronym RDC.

What does this mean? Where is the mail item when you see the letters RDC and what happens next?

Let’s take a look…

cropped SITE ICON

Summary: What is RDC Royal Mail

RDC stands for Regional Distribution Centre. Royal Mail has 13 RDCs around the U.K. that act as major sorting and distribution hubs for the specific regions that they represent. If your shipment is traveling from one region to another, (London to Liverpool for example) it will travel through one or more RDCs on its way. 

What is RDC Royal Mail? (Regional Distribution Centre) – Guide

Each of the Royal Mail Regional Distribution Centres (RDCs) is a large warehouse with a constant flow of inbound and outbound mail items.

Acting as regional hubs your mail will pass through an RDC in the region of the origin, (i.e the closest RDC to the sender).

It will be then sorted and dispatched to the regional distribution center servicing the region of the recipient. 

Inside this RDC, the mail item will be sorted again and dispatched to the local facility knowns as a mailing centre (MC) that services the destination address.

From there, it goes out for delivery with the Royal Mail delivery person.

Can I pick my package up at a Royal Mail RDC?

Image created by me for illustration purposes – not the inside of an RDC

Not all Royal Mail RDCs have customer-facing services so you can not easily arrange to pick up your mail from one of these sorting facilities.

However, you can find the contact details of all the Royal Mail RDCs here.

When you see an update containing details of the RDC, it can help you pinpoint the location of the mail item making it easier to determine how far away it is from delivery.

And in cases where you are able to contact the RDC, you will be able to arrange pickup if it is available.

What is the Princess Royal DC?

The Princess Royal Distribution Centre is a Royal Mail facility that was built back when the rail network was vital to the movement of mail around the UK.

These days are long gone and train-based mail distribution is much lower.

However, the Princess Royal Distribution Centre is still busy and is now mostly used as a sorting and dispatch hub for Royal Mail road-based distribution. 

What does “Item on its way to the RDC” Mean?

man shrugging

The Royal Mail “Item on its way to the RDC” tracking update is pretty self-explanatory. It simply means that the mail item is in transit toward the relevant RDC.

This could be either close to the sender or nearer the recipient depending on how far the shipment has progressed on its journey.

What Does “Outward RDC Handheld Acceptance” Mean?

Outward RDC Handheld Acceptance

The “Outward RDC Handheld Acceptance” tracking update means that the mail item has been accepted at the RDC and will now be sorted for dispatch to the local post office or local facility closest to the recipient.

In other words, the mail item is getting closer to delivery.

Tracking Stuck on a Royal Mail RDC Update

clock stuck in sand

You may have found this article because the last tracking update you received contained details of an RDC and you have not received any new alert for several days.

The tracking has become stuck.

So what do you do in this situation? First, you have to take into account the service speed used. 

For any standard mail item that is either not guaranteed within a specific delivery window, or is a package sent using economy postage, your expectations need to be appropriate.

For example, you should not panic if your item is held for 2 or 3 days at an RDC if the stated delivery time is between 5-7 business days.

Essentially, a lot goes on inside a Royal Mail RDC. A standard package could easily take a few days to be processed, meaning your tracking doesn’t update.

Even then, you might not get a new alert until the mail item is ready for delivery, even though it has been progressing as it should, during the intervening days.

What to do if your tracking is stuck?

mobile phone

Of course, there will come a time when it really does seem that the mail item isn’t moving, or the designated delivery window has passed and the shipment is late.

If your tracking is stuck in such circumstances, you will need to call Royal Mail Customer Services.

As mentioned above, it is also possible to get the contact details of the RDC in question, (check the Royal Mail website here).

However, I would recommend you go through the normal channels first.

Final Words

Overall, the RDC Royal Mail is a standard step for the delivery of a mail item in the UK.

If you send mail from one area of the UK to another, it will inevitably pass through an RDC.

As the main regional hubs for the flow of mail items, they are a very important part of the network.

Leave a Comment