Why the Mail System Is Buckling

Package Volumes

A record number of packages leading into the winter holidays appears to be the driving force behind USPS’ gridlock. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy recently said that package volumes could be up as much as a third compared with 2019. Since venturing out to brick-and-mortar stores is becoming increasingly risky with the exploding number of coronavirus cases, consumers are relying more on e-commerce to do their holiday shopping, which is putting a strain on the postal system.

Paul Steidler, a senior fellow at the Lexington Institute who studies logistics and energy, told me that USPS is much better at scaling up to handle a huge influx of paper mail—say, a boom in election mail—compared with packages. “Delivering packages is a harder and inherently more costly business for the Postal Service. Mail goes to nearly every address and is compact. You can have tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of Postal Service revenue in a single small truck,” he said. “Packages are bulkier, do not go to every address, and require several trips back to a post office on a typical given day.” At times, carriers will have to pause their routes to go back to the station and pick up additional mail and packages, which adds time to their shifts.

FedEx and UPS

Private delivery companies rely on USPS for last-mile shipping, to reach rural areas, and, in a way, to pick up the slack when they become overloaded. The Washington Post reports that FedEx and UPS have been cutting off new deliveries for certain retailers due to the sheer glut of packages. Customers who’ve been abandoned by these private shippers are turning to USPS, which can’t reject delivery orders. “The Postal Service is the wonderful public entity that takes everybody’s mail, has to take everybody’s mail, should take everybody’s mail, so there is no safety valve there,” said Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union.

Wally Nowinski, chief marketing officer at the user-customized products company Collage.com, has been experiencing huge headaches using private carriers this year. November and December typically account for more than half the company’s business for the entire year, much of which is conducted through the mail system. Demand for products from Collage.com, like blankets and mugs with pictures printed on them, are up 50 to 100 percent compared with the last holiday season. At the same time, though, shipping times are lengthening. “The most disruptive thing we’ve seen is UPS, with no notice, in random emails, canceling pickups … and leaving pallets of products that customers have ordered stranded on the dock,” Nowinski said. He says he sees the most holdups for his company’s packages at the stage in the journey when UPS is supposed to hand them off to USPS for last-mile shipping. Collage.com has seen 30 percent of orders through UPS’ ground service and 52 percent of orders through USPS take longer than usual based on historical data. And 84 percent of orders that the company sends through UPS Mail Innovations, a joint service between UPS and USPS, have been experiencing delays.


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You would think with all the brain trust in place, and full well knowing, this was going to be the heaviest mailing season, ever, you could have planned and ensured transportation, equipment and personel was in place to handle the load… Not. High paid idiots sitting on their as#es putting the blame on the workers. Fire all of you!!!

USPS has been crying poor for over 10 years. Each year cost of stamps goes up. Yet its the same old song.
USPS is a private entity protected by govt. Its a welfare child. Always demanding more. Simply a child having a tantram. Slow and No mail delivery because if they actually did their job they couldnt prove how broken they claim to be. As all govt protected entities….student aid, College loans, housing, etc they are all sucking off the Tit of society and not performing their intended purpose….gleefully crying poor

Yet UPS and FedEx still have the USPS deliver packages they choose not to. And YOU use the Post Office every day. If you dislike the PO so much have the guts to never use them. Have UPS or FedEx deliver your cards and letters at their rates.. The government also prevents them from doing what they need to do to make a decent profit. The MOST stamps have gone up since the beginning of time is 55 cents and that gets your letter/card anywhere in the US. You can’t say that about the other guys. They charge whatever they… Read more »

Tell THE TRUTH The Postmaster General should take ownership of the inefficiency of the system, not the workers. Over the summer, DeJoy mandated that mail sorting machines be dismantled, he stopped overtime for deliverers, and he ordered public mailboxes be removed. Trump admitted at the time that he was trying to make voting by mail more difficult.2 A massive public outcry that forced DeJoy to back down—but the damage was already done. Sorting machines that had been taken apart were not put back together, and the post office didn’t receive a badly needed influx of personnel.3 Now we’re seeing the… Read more »

not enough workers that actually work carriers clerks

Thats because Higher Education tells students they should all be CEOs and start work out of High School at $50,000 year. They think a postal Carrier job is beneith them. The last 10 years of White Male Bashing and EEOC for minorities further limits available workers. Is it any wonder there are no workers?

My sister-in-law graduated college and was depressed at her low paying desk job in college administration. She was always so good with her hands, so we thought she should ignore her father asking for her to demand higher pay and stick behind a desk and go into shipping and logistics. She did that six months ago with UPS and couldn’t be happier. So proud she took our advice!

Our postoffice where I work request more help for Christmas in October and we received no extra help. Postal management seems to wait for problem and then trying to solve it, instead of being ahead of it

Without a doubt, the worst run entity in the federal government, and it was so before the pandemic. Thousands of EAS sitting at home that could be working at the plants. There is no way it’s all going to be delivered.

Private companies will see the opportunity and USPS will become obsolete. Actually why bother keeping all those post offices and workers. Private companies will do a better job

Tell the TRUTH Over the summer, DeJoy mandated that mail sorting machines be dismantled, he stopped overtime for deliverers, and he ordered public mailboxes be removed. Trump admitted at the time that he was trying to make voting by mail more difficult.2 A massive public outcry forced DeJoy to back down—but the damage was already done. Sorting machines that had been taken apart were not put back together, and the post office didn’t receive a badly needed influx of personnel.3 Now we’re seeing the results, as people around the country aren’t receiving mail for weeks at a time. And it’s… Read more »

If they can handle so much better that the USPS then why are they dropping all of their excess on the USPS? Why have they stopped picking up their customer packages? Why are they limiting the amount of packages that some of these companies can actually put into UPS and FEDEX shipping?

USPS is a private company…not gov owned.

You had better think again. If we were a private company, there wouldn’t be all the crap that goes on.

Good job trump, not only did you not keep the country safe from the trump flu, you put one of your moron buddies in charge of the USPS and ruined Christmas.

You betcha! Dejoy bought himself a job! Thanks Donnie!

worst run office in the country is the 0236