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USPS says its encountering ‘historic volumes’ ahead of holidays

USPS Cranberry Township
Posted at 3:28 PM, Dec 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 17:29:20-05

The Postal Service says it is facing “historic volumes” going into its busiest shipping week of the year. While Tuesday marks the final day the Post Office recommends shipping packages via ground in time for Christmas, the USPS says there are still a number of options for customers hoping to get their packages to loved ones by Dec. 25.

In an effort to assist customers, the USPS says it is enacting a number of measures in hopes of ensuring timely deliveries.

Those measures include:

  • Expanded holiday retail hours in select locations
  • Expanded package delivery window — delivery in morning, afternoon, and early evening where volume warrants
  • Expanded operational capacity with new equipment
  • Lease extra vehicles as needed to expedite deliveries

For customers in the continental US, the USPS recommends the following mailing and shipping deadlines for expected delivery by Dec. 25 to most US addresses.

  • Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service
  • Dec. 18 — APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express service
  • Dec. 18 — First-Class Mail service (including greeting cards)
  • Dec. 18 — First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
  • Dec. 19 — Priority Mail service
  • Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express service

USPS notes that only the Priority Mail Express service is a guarantee, and the other deadlines are merely recommendations.

“We thank our customers for their continued support, and we are committed to making sure gifts and cards are delivered on time to celebrate the holidays,” said Kristin Seaver, Chief Retail and Delivery Officer of the Postal Service. “We also thank our 644,000 employees who are working tirelessly throughout these unique conditions to ensure the delivery of holiday gifts and greetings."

Heading into the holidays, USPS service reported significant slowdowns. For the months of July, August and September, USPS reported single-piece first-class mail fell below its annual benchmarks, and past performance. During the quarter, three-to-five day on-time service dropped from 87.8% in 2019 to 72.1% in 2020. Its two-day on-time service dropped from 94% to 88.2% from 2019 to 2020.