Postal employees report backlogs across the country amid holiday shipping
Postal Service employees across the nation are reporting backlogs in shipments due to an overwhelming surge of e-commerce packages.
“We’re really gridlocked all over the place,” a Postal Service transportation manager in Ohio told The Washington Post, speaking under conditions of anonymity.
“UPS and FedEx have shut us off,” the Ohio carrier added. “Nobody can keep up right now, but we don’t have the luxury of turning people down. They’re sitting on so much mail right now that it’s almost one day at a time in these facilities.”
Similar anonymous reports were sent to the Post by letter carriers for the Postal Service in Detroit and Philadelphia, both claiming significant backlogs that could impact the delivery chain over the next several weeks.
“I don’t think anyone, including the post office itself, knows just how bad delays are,” a carrier in Philadelphia said.
However, the Postal Service released a statement on Monday downplaying any problems, mentioning only “temporary delays.”
It said there were “historic volumes in an extraordinary year for deliveries” and that these factors along with a temporary employee shortage due to a surge in COVID-19 cases and “capacity challenges with airlifts and trucking for moving this historic volume of mail are leading to temporary delays.”
The agency said it would implement several initiatives to combat the delay, including expanded holiday retail hours in select locations, expanding operational capacity with new equipment, the leasing of more vehicles and expanding packaging delivery windows.
Some online retailers have advised clients to order their products early to account for shipping delays and ensure packages arrive by Christmas day.
Adobe Analytics reported e-commerce sales could exceed $189 billion for November and December, up 33 percent from the same time period in 2019, the Post reported.
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy released a video on Monday thanking Postal Service for their work amid the holiday rush and repeating projections of volume sales reaching “a third more than last year.”
With the upcoming Jan. 5 Georgia Senate runoff elections, the delays in postal service operations raise some concerns as the Postal Service in that state braces for another surge of mail-in ballots.
The U.S. Elections Project reported more than 1.2 million voters in the Peach State have requested mail-in ballots and 260,000 have been returned so far. More than 100,000 were returned via the Postal Service, according to the agency’s statement in federal court.
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