SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Last year shipping companies were caught off guard by the sudden jump in demand around the holiday due to the COVID pandemic.
"Last year was pretty rough, pretty challenging for the Postal Service,” spokesman Desai Abdul-Razzaaq says.
Abdul-Razzaaq says Americans shipped more than 1.1 billion gifts through the mail last year, putting a strain on their sorting machines and staff, but this year they're ready for the extra load.
"This year we expect between 850 million to 950 million packages,” Abdul-Razzaaq says.
So, not quite as many as last year, which Abdul-Razzaaq says will help keep things moving.
Nationwide the Postal Service is also hiring 40,000 seasonal workers to meet demand and they've added 111 high speed sorting machines, including three in the Twin Cities
"We've also added an additional facility here. It's called the Postal Support Annex. It's in Saint Paul and it's 330,000 square feet of additional space."
With these upgrades Abdul-Razzaaq says Minnesota can now process more than 4.5 million packages a day, so, they’re confident they will be able to keep up this year.
"This is our season and everybody is ready,” Abdul-Razzaq says.
If you're sending packages, the Postal Service and FedEx say get those packages in the mail no later than December 15th if you want them to arrive before Christmas.
For letters and greeting cards, no later than the 17th.
UPS and FedEx also offer a 3-day service with a deadline of December 21st.
And with the Postal Service you can do Priority Mail Express with a deadline of December 23rd.
Between now and New Year’s Eve the Postal Service is expecting to send more than 12.5 billion pieces of mail and packages.