The U.S. Postal Service is gearing up for the peak holiday delivery season and this year will see some changes, including temporary rate increases.
The 2020 holiday season has been a banner year for the postal service. Specifically, more than 13 billion letters, cards and parcels have been processed and delivered under some of the most difficult circumstances encountered over the past century.
For peak season 2021 – the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day – the Postal Service will deliver more mail and packages to homes than any other shipper. It is expected that between 850 million and 950 million packages will be delivered for the holidays. The total number of letters, cards and parcels processed and delivered is estimated at over 12 billion.
With the aim of maintaining the competitiveness of the postal service while providing the agency with the necessary revenue to cover additional costs in anticipation of peak season volume increases similar to the levels recorded in 2020, temporary price increases will be in place until. ‘to December 26 on all retail businesses. and competitive domestic commercial packages for some of the most popular shipping products, which also include military shipping – Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select, USPS Retail Ground, and Parcel Return Service. International products are not affected.
A zone pricing calculator is available online at: https://postcalc.usps.com/DomesticZoneChart
In anticipation of the peak season, the postal service will also expand Sunday delivery, starting November 28, to locations with high parcel volumes. USPS already delivers packages on Sundays to most major cities and plans to deliver more than 9.7 million packages each Sunday throughout the holiday season. Letter carriers will also deliver packages for an additional charge on Christmas Day to some locations.
This year’s preparations also include leasing 7.5 million square feet of additional space in more than 40 annexes to handle the increase in the number of parcels being mailed. The Postal Service currently employs over 40,000 seasonal positions to help process and deliver mail.
Since April, the Postal Service has installed 92 of the 112 new parcel sorting machines, reflecting the $ 40 billion investment planned over 10 years in the “Delivering for America” plan. In addition, more than 50 machines capable of sorting large packages are expected to be operational before December. The new machines give the postal service the capacity to process an additional 4.5 million packages every day.
The busiest time of year for the postal service begins two weeks before Christmas. Customer traffic at all post offices is expected to increase steadily from the week of December 6. The week of December 13-18 is expected to be the busiest week for mail, shipping and delivery. In addition, the Postal Service predicts that nearly 2.3 billion first-class mail items, including greeting cards and parcels, will be processed and delivered the week of December 13.
In order for packages to be delivered before Christmas Day, La Poste recommends the following shipping times:
December 9 – APO / FPO / DPO (all zip codes) Priority Mail and First Class Mail
December 15 – USPS Retail Ground Service
December 16 – APO / FPO / DPO (except zip code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express Military
December 17 – First Class Courier Service (including Greeting Cards)
December 17 – First Class Packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
December 18 – Priority mail service
December 23 – Priority Mail Express Service *
Alaska to / from the continental United States
December 18 – First Class Mail
December 18 – Priority mail
December 21 – Priority Mail Express
Hawaii to / from mainland
December 17 – Priority Mail and First Class Mail
December 21 – Priority Mail Express
Consumers don’t have to leave their homes to ship their packages. They can visit usps.com for the door-to-door shipping options available.
More tips for a successful sending and shipping period:
· Use the free Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes. They are available at post offices or online at usps.com/freeboxes.
· Make it easy with Click-N-Ship. You can create shipping labels and pay for shipping costs online at usps.com/ship.
· Schedule a free package pickup when the carrier delivers your mail. It’s free regardless of the number of packages. Pickups can be scheduled at usps.com/pickup.
Mail and packages weighing more than 10 ounces or more than half an inch thick and using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left with a carrier for pick up . Instead, take them to a local post office.