It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year again, at least for consumers. For shippers and carriers, it’s a different story.
If you asked 10 logistics professionals when peak shipping season is, you would likely get 10 different answers. Some will claim it lasts from August to November; others will argue it begins in the spring; still others will contend it’s become a year-round affair. But regardless of which definition they use, shippers can expect a sharp increase in parcel volume to arrive with the holidays.
That includes the U.S. Postal Service, which on Monday announced its investments to prepare for peak season, including the hirings and promotions of tens of thousands of employees and the installation of hundreds of new package processing machines.
The agency says its investments will expand its processing capacity to nearly 60 million packages every day, up from 53 million in 2021.
“Successfully delivering for the holidays is a cornerstone of our Delivering for America 10-year plan,” Postmaster General Louis DeJoy said in a statement. “Thanks to the 655,000 women and men of the Postal Service, recent investments and operational precision improvements, we are ready to be the most used delivery provider this holiday season.”
Part of DeJoy’s strategy has been to inject more human capital into the agency’s network. Since 2021, it has converted more than 100,000 part-time employees to full-time positions, including 41,000 since January.
The Postal Service is also actively hiring a further 28,000 seasonal employees nationwide. Those include 1,000 truck drivers, as well as additional letter carriers and processing team members.
Another key piece of the agency’s strategy has been adding physical capacity. Last year, it added 8.5 million square feet to its facility footprint by signing multiyear leases with 52 peak season annexes and processing facilities across the country. These buildings are intended as a sort of failsafe for space shortages at existing facilities.
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The final prong of DeJoy’s plan involves upgrading the Postal Service’s technology. By November, the agency will have installed 249 new package processing machines since the start of 2021, part of its investment under the Delivering for America plan. It has also deployed more than 6,000 computer tablets on workroom floors in the last 12 months.
Per the announcement, the Postal Service is seeing “strong and steady” performance across all mail categories heading into peak season. On average, the agency says, it takes less than two and a half days for a package to be delivered across its network.
The announcement also seemed to hint that the nationwide carrier isn’t done investing just yet. It reiterated the agency’s desire to stay the course with Delivering for America, which was published in March 2021 and calls for a 10-year stretch of investments totaling $40 billion.