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December 18, 2018 10:30 AM, EST

Postal Service Slammed with Seasonal Shipping

postal truck Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

This week is expected to be the busiest week of the holiday mailing and shipping season for the Postal Service.

The agency expects to process and deliver nearly 3 billion pieces of mail, including packages, this week alone. In the two weeks leading up to Christmas, Dec. 10-23, the Postal Service expects to deliver nearly 200 million packages each week, according to a news release from the U.S. Postal Service.

Overall, the Postal Service anticipates delivering nearly 15 billion pieces of mail and more than 900 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day — for a total of nearly 16 billion mail and package deliveries this holiday season.

The Postal Service already delivers packages Sundays in most major cities, and to handle the surge in holiday volume, the agency is expanding its Sunday delivery operations in select locations with high package volumes. USPS expects to deliver more than 8 million packages each Sunday in December. Mail carriers also will deliver Priority Mail Express packages on Christmas Day in select locations, according to the news release.

Dec. 17 was predicted to be the busiest day for online postal consumers. Nearly 400,000 customers were expected to visit usps.com for help shipping that special holiday gift. Nearly 5 million consumers were expected to take advantage of online services, like Click-N-Ship, to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and request free next-day package pickup.

The Postal Service recommends using the following mailing and shipping deadlines as a guideline for delivery before Dec. 25. Delivery dates are not guaranteed unless otherwise noted.

Dec. 18: APO/FPO/DPO,USPS Priority Mail Express

Dec. 20: First-class mail (including greeting cards)

Dec. 20: First-class packages (up to 15.99 ounces)

Dec. 20: Priority mail

Dec. 22: Priority mail express

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