USPS: Ready for pandemic crush of holiday shipping

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Postal workers who recall packages and letters piled up in distribution hubs a year ago are gearing up for another holiday crush.

The United States Postal Service and private shippers UPS and FedEx are bolstering their hiring — bringing in nearly a quarter million temporary workers — to ensure they don’t become overwhelmed by packages again.

"Last year was a wakeup call for us," said Stephen Doherty with the USPS, describing it as a "perfect storm" of increased demand due to online orders as employee availability fell due to COVID-19.

"We’ve been preparing for this holiday since the last holiday season ended. So, we’ve got everything in place – we do this every day. We have the trucks, we have the personnel. We have the rolling stock and equipment to move the mail and we’re gonna … we shouldn’t be impacted by the supply chain. We’ll get everything delivered," he said.

Doherty said they are expecting to handle 25 billion letters, cards, and packages this holiday season. He said they are adding new annexes at key locations, more than 100 new postal sorting machines, and hiring another 40,000 people just for the holidays.

Outside of the postal system, low product inventories, port disruptions and supply chain disruptions are creating new uncertainty for holiday shoppers.