USPS in Syracuse handling historic volume of mail during Christmas delivery crunch

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Postal workers are working around the clock to make sure packages are delivered before Christmas. The postmaster serving Syracuse says they’re in full tilt right now, pulling all available resources to make those deliveries happen as well as handle a number of new challenges this year.

“This is a historic record of holiday volume we’ve been dealing with compounded by the challenges with the surge in COVID-19, which is impacting our employee availability,” Scott Jevis, postmaster of the USPS in Syracuse, says. “We also have challenges in our air network, the trucking network, and the culmination of this is leading to some temporary delays throughout our network.”

Jevis says they’re expected to meet delivery deadlines locally if the packages were shipped by Dec. 15; though, he can’t make a guarantee for every item. Another factor playing a role in the delays is the consistent volume the USPS is seeing throughout the holiday season.

“We have a first in, first out order for all of the mail and packages,” Jevis says. “Although the mailing continues, that’s the interesting thing about this season. Traditionally, the week leading up to Christmas, our lobbies die down a bit. Our input’s reduced and process and delivery catches up. This year, it’s non-stop. Today, right now, we have a line outside the door. The mailing continues. We continue to accept packages, which keeps the whole network extremely busy.”

The operations behind-the-scenes are non-stop too. Jevis says they’ve increase hiring and brought on additional vehicles. They’re also running their sorting machines almost 24-hours a day outside of preventative maintenance.

“We are definitely pushing in all directions with every piece of equipment that we own, lease, or borrow to help get everything home for the holidays,” Jevis adds.

The USPS says they don’t expect this high volume and demand to end any time soon. Jevis says they’re expecting record returns and record gift card sales, which means increased shipping and shopping will continue long after the holiday ends.

Though as they work hard to deliver mail through these final days, Jevis says their number one priority is keeping their staff safe in house, and asking neighbors for the same. They’re asking people to keep their mailboxes and walkways free of ice, snow, and your family pet.

“Patience is key but we have the most dedicated group of employees. They’re working very long hours. You will see us in the community right up until Christmas Eve. We will not stop. The process facility here will be open Christmas Day. We will not stop until everything is delivered,” Jevis says.

NewsChannel 9 has also received quite a few inquiries from viewers who say they’ve received notifications that their package was accepted at a local or regional USPS facility, but it has been sitting there for days. Jevis says there are several explanations.

There could be several different reasons for that. But this time of year, beyond our capacity constraints that we’re dealing with, if you see an acceptance scan, traditionally,  you’ll see visibility of that piece through our network as it travels from point A to point B. Because of the volume we’re dealing with this year, we are setting up manual sort operations. So that mail piece, it might not run through the machine it normally runs through, which would automatically scan it and pass that visibility to the customer. So, it might give the impression that the package is not moving. Although it’s moving through the manual operation, hand to hand, container to container, so it’s moving but the visibility isn’t there.

Scott Jevis — Postmaster of the USPS in Syracuse


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