It is expected that about 3.4 billion parcels will be sent to Americans this holiday season
Postal workers who remember the blockages with parcels and letters that accumulated on the eve of last year’s holiday season in distribution centers are preparing for another influx of pre-holiday packages. The US Federal Postal Service (USPS) and private shippers UPS and FedEx have announced the hiring of 230,000 seasonal employees to unload the upcoming influx of mail. However, a limited supply of goods, disruptions in the operation of ports and delivery chains again contribute to the creation of uncertainty regarding the timely delivery of gifts.
It is expected that about 3.4 billion parcels will be sent across the country this holiday season, which is about 400 million more compared to 2020, according to data from ShipMatrix, which analyzes parcel delivery data.
Taking into account postcards and letters, the USPS announced that it plans to deliver more than 12 billion shipments to recipients.
Despite the unstable situation, USPS, UPS, and FedEx are now in the best shape to cope with peak volumes of parcels, and several factors may play in their favor, according to analysts from ShipMatrix. Firstly, this year more Americans have made purchases in regular stores, and the bulk of buyers have started placing online orders earlier due to existing problems in the delivery chains.
In addition, the gradual return of employees to offices helps to reduce the sending of office supplies to the home. Most importantly, shippers have learned to adapt to such situations after the difficulties they experienced last year.
The head of the USPS, Louis DeJoy, who was sharply criticized last year, believes that the Postal Service is ready to cope with the upcoming influx of parcels. This month, DeJoy announced improvements in the work of the post office and a reduction in operating costs.
A year ago, by Christmas, more than a third of the mail sent through the USPS in the first-class category was not delivered on time. Last year, a lot of parcels and letters accumulated in distribution nodes, delays in delivery were days, and then weeks. To solve this problem, two things needed to be done: hire additional employees, as well as increase the postal facilities. Both of these issues are being resolved.
To cope with the holiday peak, the USPS has transferred over 30,000 non-career employees to its staff, while hiring 40,000 seasonal workers and renting additional premises in more than 100 locations across the country to ensure timely placement of parcels.
In addition, the USPS has installed more than 100 new parcel sorting machines by early November as part of a $40 billion investment plan for the next 10 years. By December, postal workers will also install more than 50 systems for sorting large parcels, which together will increase the throughput by another 4.5 million shipments per day, USPS representatives said.
UPS, for its part, employs more than 100,000 seasonal employees across the country and continues to develop process automation and expand its aircraft fleet. The company expects that by the end of the year, almost 90% of all shipments will pass through automated installations.
FedEx is increasing its staff across the country by 90 thousand people. Most of the new employees are expected to continue working after the holidays, the company said in a statement.