With Postal Service Delays, Packages May Not Arrive In Time for Christmas

If you’re like many gift-givers across the country, you’ve been compulsively checking the status of your shipments, hoping they reach their recipients by Chirstmas. Unfortunately, with the holiday drawing nearer and a record number of packages piling up, it seems likely many deliveries will in fact be delayed.

According to a report from the Washington Post’s Jacob Bogage and Hannah Denham, a historic number of packages is piling up in facilities across the country. With families avoiding gatherings due to the pandemic, a record number of people are shipping gifts this holiday season. A recent analysis from eMarketer indicated online holiday shopping was expected to grow by 35.8% in 2020, with fewer people shopping in stores due to health concerns. 

This fact, coupled with 19,000 of the Postal Service’s 644,000 employees either being sick or in quarantine due to coronavirus has been a recipe for disaster. The report states packages are stacked so high that employees are experiencing difficulty walking through the facilities. Parcels have also been sitting in trucks for days before being sorted, the report says.

Still, the delays are not a result of incompetence on the workers’ end; to put it plainly, they’re slammed. Several employees have been working 80-hour work weeks since Thanksgiving to ensure packages get out on time — some without a single day off, even on weekends.

Mark Dimondstein, president of the American Postal Workers Union, told the Post that workers are “doing the very best we can” and asked for patience. 

Kim Frum, a spokesperson for the Postal Service, told Business Insider the agency is also being impacted by capacity restraints from trucking companies and airlines that transport the mail.

“Amid the historic volume, the Postal Service continues to flex its network, including making sure the right equipment is available to sort, process and deliver a historic volume of mail and packages this holiday season,” Frum said. “Our entire Operations team, from collections, to processing to delivery, worked throughout this past weekend and continues to work around the clock to address the historic volume.”

Industry experts are referring to the current situation as “shipageddon.” Early on in the holiday shopping season, private companies like UPS and FedEx advised retailers of their limited capacity, which resulted in retailers turning to other avenues such as the Postal Service to get orders to customers. The results have not been favorable, and it’s now expected millions of packages will be delayed.

Have you experienced packages being lost or delayed this holiday season, or have your shipments made it on time? Tell us about your shipping wins (and woes) in the comments!