Processing centers prep for busiest mailing week of the year

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Bay Area mail processing centers are prepping for their share of the millions of packages that will flow through post offices during Monday's mail surge, according to the United States Postal Service.

Around 612 million pieces of mail are expected nationwide Monday at post offices, USPS officials said.
This apparently represents a 15 percent increase from last year during this peak mailing day. And a significant portion of the heavy package volume is expected at a pair of Bay Area mail processing and distribution centers, USPS officials said.

A San Jose center at 1750 Lundy Ave. expects to deal with 6.8 million cards, letters and packages today, about 1 million more than a typical day. The center has an automated processing system to handle the deluge of packages, USPS officials said.

But more than 11 million pieces of mail will flow through an Oakland center at 1675 7th St., USPS officials said. That's almost 2 million more than other days.

"We hired 120 people just for this facility, for peak season alone," USPS spokesperson Evelina Ramirez told KTVU, at the regional processing center in Oakland. 

"It''s true a lot of people are giving gift cards," observed Ramirez, "but there's also something about buying a personalized gift you think someone wants, and right now there's a surge in online shoppers."  

"I've got nutcrackers, tree ornaments, toys for my grandchildren, stocking stuffers, " itemized Jill Keirle of San Rafael, clutching boxes to mail at the Civic Center post office.

There, Monday's lines were long, and the postal service says volume is 15 percent higher than last year at this time, a measure of robust retail spending.

"I'm hoping everything gets there in time, and then I'll arrive in Oregon next week, when I can wrap it up and put it under the tree." enthused Keirle.

The deadline is Tuesday for customers to ship timely Christmas gifts using the Postal Service's standard service. But there are options for those who wait.

The deadlines for First Class Mail, Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express service are Dec. 19, 21 and 23, respectively.

Meanwhile, UPS is struggling to handle more holiday deliveries than they expected.

On-time delivery rates for UPS ground packages based on their normal shipping transit times fell to 91 percent last week according to an analysis of millions of packages by software developer Shipmatrix.

During the same week last year the on-time rate was 97 percent which is the shipper's average during non-peak months.

UPS has been hit with unexpected high volumes and not enough equipment to handle all the packages at some locations.

The company assigned managers from its corporate headquarters in Atlanta and elsewhere this week to work at delivery centers in Austin, Texas, New York and other locations to help with additional packages.

FedEx's early numbers were also lower than their usual times at an estimated 95 percent.

For more on delivery times: 

US Postal Service