USPS predicts 20% hike in festive package volumes

The US Postal Service is predicting a 20% increase in festive season package volumes this year, planning to deliver around 365m parcels in the run-up to Christmas. USPS is forecasting record volumes because of the increasing popularity of online shopping in the United States.

The Postal Service said with letters and cards swelling its mailbags this season, it is set to deliver 18bn mail items overall between Thanksgiving (22nd November) and New Year’s Eve.

The USPS said yesterday that Monday, 17th December is likely to be its busiest mailing day, when 655m pieces of mail will be processed, with the subsequent Wednesday its busiest delivery day for letters, and Thursday for packages.

With customers rushing to get packages to their recipients before Christmas, USPS also tends to see its air cargo volumes increase by around a third during the holiday season.

The USPS National Operations Center is manned 24 hours a day from 4th December to help cope with the increasing volumes.

“This is one of the most exciting and busiest times of the year for the Postal Service,” said US Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe yesterday.

The 365m prediction for USPS festive package volumes puts the world’s largest postal service at a similar scale to integrators UPS and FedEx, but those companies are expecting to deliver respectively 527m and 280m packages worldwide.

UPS and FedEx predicted their festive package volumes would grow by 10% globally this year, mainly because of ecommerce.

Loss-making USPS is expected to suspend its delivery network consolidation and post office closures from 19th November to 4th January to help with the peak Christmas season.

It is also expected to suspend its POStPlan – which is reducing the opening hours of thousands of rural post offices – between 8th December and 6th January.

Mailing campaign

This week, the Postal Service is conducting its largest ever mailing publicity drive, sending out information to nearly 140m households across America to advise on mail-by dates for Christmas.

Customers are advised that items sent overseas by Priority Mail International should be mailed by 3rd December, by Express Mail International by 11th December and by Global Express Guaranteed by 17th December.

Domestically, items sent by Parcel Post should be mailed by 14th December, items sent by First Class Mail should be mailed by 20th December, 21st December for Priority Mail items and 22nd December for Express Mail.

Nagisa Manabe, the USPS chief marketing officer, said the mailing campaign was making use of QR code technology to draw mobile phone users to extra information on festive mailing.

USPS is publicizing its usps.com/cheer dedicated holiday website, where customers can print shipping labels, order Priority Mail boxes, purchase postage and order package pickups, as well as tracking most packages.

“With a QR code that can be scanned to access up-to-date information, this mailing campaign is sure to make holiday shipping and mailing simpler than ever before and help consumers manage this busy time of year,” said Manabe.

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