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'It's crunch time' | USPS now in second busiest week of the year

Postal Service expected to break records in shipments this season

HARTFORD, Conn. — The holiday season is here, and many are making last-minute trips to the store or post office to get their packages in on time before Christmas. 

Most deadlines for the United States Postal Service came and went the week of Dec.13th, but they will ship Priority Mail Express up until December 23.

"Last year, we had the pandemic, people were ordering more online and we were blindsided. So this year, we were kind of anticipating what we needed to do to get ready," said Amy Gibbs, Spokesperson for USPS.

Within the last year, the postal service made some changes to speed up the process and keep up with the increased demand. 

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"We've added infrastructure, we added 112 new sorting machines nationally. We've added 40,000 seasonal employees. We've had hiring events all over Connecticut that were bringing in hundred's of applicants," Gibbs said.

With that, they're poised to break records this holiday season. Gibbs said some post offices around the country ship out more than one million packages per day. By the end of the holiday season, USPS expects to reach nearly 950 million packages shipped.

Despite how USPS has prepared, however, there are other factors at play that are out of everyone's control, including supply chain issues.

"While it's a global problem, the supply chain is something that hits home for every small business, really no matter what industry or sector they are in," said Andy Markowski, Connecticut State Director for the National Federation of Independent Business.

For those businesses, it can mean having to raise their own prices.

"One of the things that many small business owners are facing right now themselves is an increase in shipping costs. So not only are they paying more for the products and goods that they then in turn have to charge higher prices for, but even obtaining them in a timely manner is coming at a higher cost right now," Markowski said.

RELATED: Here are the USPS locations in Connecticut open Sunday for extended holiday hours

However, when it comes to USPS, Gibbs promises that if customers meet their deadlines, there should be no delays in product shipments. 

“We have an awful lot of people behind us making sure everything is out. In our area everything is delivered every single day," said Paul Crooks, who has been serving as a letter carrier in Hartford for 31 years.

Letter carriers like Crooks are coming in early and shipping hundreds of packages a day to meet the holiday demand.

RELATED: Shippers prepare for pandemic holiday package rush

“288 I believe. My route is more of a business route. So to have that much on a business route is pretty heavy," Crooks said,

But, he doesn't mind being busy and getting to see more people on his route.

“You get to see everybody, get to have really nice interaction, and that’s what makes your day," Crooks said.

There are other holiday shipping deadlines customers need to meet, coming up this week. To see the list from FedEx, click here. 

For UPS deadlines, click here.

Julia LeBlanc is a reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at jleblanc@fox61.com Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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