Send gifts early this year: USPS releases deadline dates and ramps up for a busy holiday season

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 5:23 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -Shipping demands and delays are clogging up systems as we head into the holiday season. To make sure shipping isn’t spooky this year, the US Postal Service is gearing up for the season.

It may only be mid-October, but Susan McFadden is wasting no time shopping for her grandkids at Mildred and Dildred. They’re ages 6, 4 and 1, and McFadden is at a bit of loss on what to get them.

A couple of books might work, especially since they can fit in a box to mail. Her family lives in England, and she’s preparing for an early arrival for her gifts.

“I’ve heard this drumbeat of news on both sides of the Atlantic about lack of drivers to take the post, difficulties with the supply chain…since my grandchildren live in England, and I have to put something in a box and send it over, I thought we should get an early start,” said McFadden, who was shopping for Christmas gifts.

The Postal Service is expecting at least a 10% increase in packages, after nearly a 50 % increase last year. In Tucson, that means they are likely to process and ship out more than 4.5 million packages this holiday season.

“We installed 112 package sorters across the nation including one right here in Tucson,” said Rod Spurgeon, USPS spokesperson.

It can sort tens of thousands of packages a day, speeding up delivery times. The postal service is also bumping up some deadlines for packages to arrive on time by about a day and ramping up hiring. They’re looking for 40,000 holiday workers nation-wide.

“Here in Tucson, we’re having 140 people come on board just for the holiday season, and just for comparison, we have about 250 people in our processing plant,” said Spurgeon.

They will also be focusing on using more ground transportation, as flight cancelations and delays from storms and staffing hindered delivery times last year. As a price, there is an increase of 75 cents on priority mail that will end December 26.

“We do have a temporary price increase, and that is to handle that surge in holiday volume,” said Spurgeon.

2021 Holiday Shipping Deadlines:

· Dec. 15 — USPS Retail Ground service

· Dec. 17 — First-Class Mail

· Dec. 18 — Priority Mail service

· Dec. 23 — Priority Mail Express service

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