How ready will USPS be this year for the holiday season this year?
We got an early look at how the Postal Service plans to manage peak season this year from a presentation it shared with its mailing partners during a technical advisory meeting this week.
USPS Peak Season Network
In time for peak season, USPS plans to have 46 additional package processing machines online.
The Postal Service has been adding these new machines since the start of the year as well as additional material handling equipment to increase its efficiencies.
These new deployments will expand the Postal Service’s package processing capacity from about 50 million packages per day last year to about 53 million per day this year.
In 2021, USPS added 48 parcel support annexes (PSAs) and 49 temporary peak annexes to support its holiday rush.
The 48 PSAs were generally deployed in higher volume areas and remained part of the postal logistics network throughout the year.
For peak season 2022, the Postal Service will continue to use these PSAs but plans to add only 24 temporary peak annexes, a significant decrease from last year.
Overall, this means the total additional space USPS will have available during peak 2022 is reduced from 11.5M square feet in 2021 to 10.5M square feet in 2022.
USPS Peak Season Staffing
On the workforce side of it, USPS added 45,000 temporary peak season workers in 2021, which is actually more than it originally planned to hire.
For 2022, the Postal Service plans to hire only 29,000 temporary peak season workers starting in October.
However, USPS has converted about 10,000 non-career workers to career staff this year, which may account for hiring fewer seasonal workers.
During peak season 2021, USPS said on average, it delivered First Class Mail in 2.68 days, Priority Packages in 2.9 days, and First Class Packages in 3.3 days.
The Postal Service believes its peak season plan for 2022 will allow it to maintain or even improve on those delivery averages.
To avoid network gridlock and maintain fluid operations this year, the Postal Service will also request early notification from high-volume shippers about additional peak volume pickups.
The takeaway from this presentation is that it appears the new automated sorting capabilities and the additional career staff will help the Postal Service move more packages through its network while being able to use less space and fewer seasonal workers.
What Else to Expect
Just as in previous years, USPS will implement peak season surcharges on packages, which has become a common practice in the shipping industry.
We provided tips last year on how to minimize these surcharges. In addition to the surcharges, some seasonal sellers may find larger boxes are way more expensive this year with USPS.
In April, USPS introduced surcharges for larger packages that may add as much as $15 per shipment.
There is also a new $1.50 penalty fee on the most popular package services when not providing the correct dimensions on larger packages.
The USPS request to the PRC to simplify its ground package service options from 3 services to 1 service will not impact the holiday season.
At the earliest, this plan would go into effect on January 8, 2023.
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