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Postal Service: Ship your packages early this holiday season

Shipping agencies recommend getting a head start on mailing packages for what’s expected to be as busy or busier than last year’s holiday season.

The U.S. Postal Service shipped about 1 billion packages nationwide last holiday season, and it expects to ship a similar amount over the next few weeks, according to David James, customer relations manager for the Postal Service’s Nevada and Utah district.

The pandemic shifted many people’s shopping habits from in person to online, increasing the workload for the Postal Service and other carriers.

Postal Service customers looking to have their packages reach their destinations in time for Christmas should mail them by Dec. 9 for Overseas Military Mail, Dec. 17 for First Class mail, Dec. 18 for Priority Mail and Dec. 23 for Priority Mail Express.

The week of Dec. 13 through Dec. 18 is expected to be the busiest week for the Postal Service with more than 200 million packages predicted to ship that week, he said. James recommended people ship their packages before that week to ensure their gifts get to where they need to go.

“I’m sure our network will be stretched to capacity but we will be able to get all the packages delivered this year,” James said.

The service has added 112 processing machines, brought aboard 40,000 seasonal employees across the country, including 500 in Nevada, to shore up resources for another pandemic holiday season.

The Postal Service offers home package pickup through its Click-N-Ship program. People can buy priority postage online at usps.com, print out the label and either drop off the packages at a post office or schedule free package pickup at their home. A typical mail carrier will pick up the packages and save people from potential lines at the post office, James said.

People should put their packages in a sturdy box, even if the gift itself is wrapped in paper, he said. The shipping address should go on the outside of the box and not the wrapped gift. Otherwise, people risk the wrapping paper tearing off, leaving the Postal Service without a shipping address, James said.

FedEx anticipates a record-breaking holiday season, thanks to the pandemic-fueled burst in online shopping, spokeswoman Phalisha Jackson said. The private shipping company has prepared for months for an “unprecedented” holiday season. FedEx expects to deliver 100 million more packages this holiday season than in 2019, and a 10 percent year-over-year jump in peak shipping volumes.

The company has modernized its airplane fleet to use less energy and emit less carbon dioxide and leaned into online shopping, Jackson said. FedEx predicts to ship nearly 32 million packages across the world on Cyber Monday, which is this Monday.

Monday, Tuesday, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13 will be among the company’s busiest days this season, she said.

United Parcel Service predicts it will process 5.5 percent more packages in Las Vegas than 2020 or at least 460,000 packages for daily delivery over the holiday season. Spokeswoman Becky Biciolis said the shipping company can process 130,000 more pieces per hour than last year and will have added 49 new planes to its fleet from 2017 through the end of next year.

The company is still hiring for seasonal positions like package handlers, driver helpers and personal vehicle drivers in Las Vegas.

Customers using UPS 3 Day Select shipping have until Dec. 21 to mail their packages to ensure delivery on or before Dec. 24. UPS 2nd Day Air shipping customers should send theirs on Dec. 22 and UPS Next Day Air customers should mail theirs by Dec. 23 in order for arrival on or before Christmas Eve.

UPS Ground Service customers should check the transit time at ups.com.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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