USPS aligns network to boost efficiency

Continuing work that began in June 2019, the Postal Service is aligning its surface transportation network as planned to help the organization improve service performance and move mail and packages more efficiently.

“Aligning our surface transportation network will help us to better serve the evolving needs of our customers, particularly when it comes to the growing package market,” said Logistics Vice President Robert Cintron, who is leading the effort. “We have been adjusting and optimizing surface transportation for more than a decade, so we are pleased this alignment is coming together.”

The alignment has expanded the number of surface transfer centers (STCs) and added “aggregation sites” to the network.

STCs are facilities where mail and packages are received in containers for consolidation and cross-docking to destination facilities. Consolidation of containers increases trailer utilization and helps reduce the number of daily trips needed. Aggregation sites reside in existing processing facilities where mail is accepted from smaller facilities and aggregated before going directly to a destination facility, or to the STCs for further consolidation.

The Postal Service expanded its capability by adding an STC in Kansas City, KS, in September 2019 and one in Chicago in May 2020, bringing the total number to 13, allowing the network to reach processing facilities within a 14-hour drive window. Aggregation sites were added at 56 postal facilities.

The primary effect of the alignment is to consolidate mail containers and outbound transportation more effectively, improve truckload efficiency and reduce outbound long-haul network trips.

In addition, the alignment will help the Postal Service to mitigate issues associated with the current shortage of long-haul truck drivers.

As part of the effort, effective Sept. 14, approximately 7 percent of the daily trip schedules will be realigned to more efficiently meet operating plans. USPS has kept all stakeholders informed of the alignment project status since last year, including employees, unions, management associations, mailers and logistics contractors.


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