Postal Service sorting facility on Gardiner Lane

Postal Service sorting facility on Gardiner Lane

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The U.S. Postal Service is promising not to be the Grinch that stole Christmas this season, saying it's better prepared to handle the rush after it was overwhelmed by the volume of e-commerce packages last year.

The postal service said it has hired more people, installed more machinery and taken other steps to handle the load.

“We are ready to deliver the holidays for our customers. We did learn a lot of lessons from last year," USPS spokesperson Susan Wright said. “We have, across the country, 112 new sorting machines going into our different facilities that can handle packages. We also — just for peak season — have 40 new annexes that we're putting into operation to handle the capacity of parcels that we do get now.”

During the peak, hundreds of thousands of packages will be dumped, sorted, distributed at Louisville’s Gardiner Lane processing center every day.

“Last year, we did 290,000 and we're hoping to get over 300,000 this year on our heavy days,” said Rick Rosenbury, an operations support specialist.

The facility on Gardiner Lane has 10 robots to help get the job done. Currently, about 20% of the package processing is automated.

“But we're going through some test phases and test cycles where that's definitely going to increase in the next 10 years,” Rosenbury said.

The postal service is promising a smooth holiday season despite new service standards, designed to cut costs but could result in delivery delays, particularly in rural areas.

“Our service standard changes are going to affect only about 40% of the mail,” Wright said. “So 60% of the mail volume that we handle is going to be completely unaffected by the service standards change.”

Stansbury said more staffing, better teamwork and the easing of the pandemic should help relief the stress and improve performance.

“Last year was a struggle, but we're already poised to be in much better shape this year," he said.

USPS recommends mailing packages as early as possible. The deadline for Christmas delivery is Dec. 17. for First Class mail, Dec. 18 for Priority mail and Dec. 23 for Priority Express mail.

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