During the holiday season, demand for delivery services dramatically increased, putting even more pressure on an overwhelmed postal service amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people could not get packages by Christmas, as deliveries increasingly faced gridlock at the United States Postal Service (USPS). A combination of crises put the USPS in a challenging situation that may influence shipping in the future.

Why Packages Were Delayed During Christmas 2020

Staff shortages, financial losses and a system moving away from sending paper mail have led to significant losses for the USPS. At the same time, however, the USPS is facing unprecedented demand to deliver packages.

In the weeks before Christmas, some 19,000 USPS workers were in quarantine due to COVID-19 virus exposure or illness, leading to further workforce shortages. The backlog and delays were also highly contingent on the increase of private carriers who limited or stopped providing delivery services for some retailers. This response led to more companies delivering through the USPS in the face of rising demand.

While the USPS anticipated unprecedented delivery demand, they didn’t have the resources to handle the influx. In addition, the handling of mail-in ballots during the November 2020 presidential election had already put a sizable strain on their capacity. Together, these factors meant many Americans didn’t get their packages on Christmas morning.

The Postal Service During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In response to the pandemic, the USPS has established several COVID-19 mailing restrictions and regulations to deliver packages throughout the country. Due to various travel restrictions and logistical concerns, the USPS has temporarily suspended mail to many international destinations. Domestically, the agency has established safety-related regulations to protect employees and customers.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the USPS must navigate demands to deliver critical medicine and supplies to Americans across the country. Handling employee quarantines and shortages — and the increased volume of online orders Americans are making during the pandemic — are significant challenges to the agency’s operations. Resolving the backlog that occurred at Christmas will also likely be an ongoing process. The severe logistical challenges of the pandemic and the other difficulties the USPS faces are continuing obstacles.

In the meantime, consumers and businesses can expect continued delays. However, you can feel confident the Postal Service is working on getting packages to their recipients as post offices are not currently closing down. Employees around the country worked overtime from Thanksgiving through Christmas and continue to put in extra hours to handle the service demand.

Handle Hazardous Materials Shipping Effectively With DOT Training

If you manufacture, package, store or distribute hazardous materials, ensure you have the resources you need to get products safely to their destination. Our Hazmat School offers the online safety training you need to meet Department of Transportation (DOT) requirements.

In the complex situation we’re currently facing, equip yourself with the certifications and knowledge you need to manage your operations’ packaging and distribution requirements. For more information about our online DOT training solutions, contact us today.

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