Post Office in Livermore shows off new package sorting machine

The U.S. Postal service in Livermore on Thursday showed off some of its new equipment to help Americans ship millions of packages around this country this holiday.

The pièce de résistance is a high-tech conveyer belt that scans bar codes, and then sorts and slides the different packages into different bins, dependent on which mail route they're on. 

In the past, postal workers had to manually scan each bar code and then literally toss the package into one of the bins.

With all the online shopping that happens this time of year, the postmaster said this system is much more efficient.

The machine helps them sort 3,000 packages an hour.

And that means all the sorting gets done about three hours earlier than it used to.

It also means that mail carriers can start their routes earlier and people get their packages more quickly.

If you want your presents to arrive by Christmas, they need to get to the post office by Dec. 16 for ground shipping. That's also the deadline for first class mail and holiday cars.

If you're sending pacakges by priority mail, the deadline is Dec. 18.