U.S. Postal Service Delivered Smooth Holiday Season, Analysis

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) – The U.S. Postal Service went out of its way to prevent a repeat of the 2020 holiday shipping disaster, and it worked.

The Postal Service and several other private shippers reported that holiday season deliveries were mostly smooth.

ShipMatrix, which analyzes data on shipping packages, reported that 96.9% of Postal Service shipments were on time during a two-week period in December. Overall, this was a major improvement across the board from last year, when more than a third of first class mail was late for the arrival of Christmas.

“We’re happy to have brought all the good holiday cheer we could,” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, which represents more than 200,000 postal workers.

Ahead of the holidays, serious warnings were issued regarding supply chain issues and shipping delays. Ultimately, buyers heeded supply chain warnings by ordering and shipping items earlier, while more people chose to buy in-store than the year before, Satish Jindel said. , president of ShipMatrix in Pennsylvania.

The Postal Service installed 112 new parcel sorting machines, transferred more than 60,000 pre-career employees to career employee ranks, hired 40,000 seasonal employees and leased additional space at more than 100 sites since the last year, officials said.

As an added bonus, the number of postmen quarantined was lower than last year, although it tended to increase.

With new standards that extended the lead time of some long-distance couriers, the service reported 89.8% of first-class packages delivered on time in the first 12 weeks of the quarter, and forecasted 12 billion items of mail and packages would be delivered between Thanksgiving and New Years.

Between Dec. 12 and Dec. 21, UPS and FedEx also recorded on-time delivery rates exceeding 90%, Jindel said. They too have increased their workforce, hiring more than 190,000 additional workers to better prepare for the peak of the holidays.

For the U.S. Postal Service, about 6,500 postal workers were in COVID-19 quarantine on Christmas Eve, which was better than the year before when 19,000 workers were absent at the December peak, according to the American Postal Workers Union.

But these numbers are increasing. This week, the number of workers quarantined rose to nearly 8,000, the union said.

Fredric Rolando, president of the National Letter Carriers Association, said obstacles such as the pandemic and quarantines pose staffing challenges, but “they don’t change the mission.”

The U.S. Postal Service declined to comment on the quarantine figures, but “we can assure you that the Postal Service has the resources, including the right staff, to meet the service needs of our customers now and in the future. “said the spokesperson. Kim Frum.

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