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Peak performance

Holiday preparations paid off, figures show

The Postal Service’s holiday volume in 2021 exceeded the previous year’s by roughly a half-billion.

The Postal Service accepted more than 13.2 billion cards, letters, flats and packages during the holiday season, according to preliminary data released this week.

The volume from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day exceeded the 12.7 billion pieces accepted during the same period one year earlier.

The average delivery time for holiday mail and packages in 2021 was 2.7 days.

The season’s highest volume came during the week between Saturday, Nov. 27, and Friday, Dec. 3, with 2.8 billion mailpieces accepted for delivery.

“Our mission to deliver for America is an enormous responsibility, especially during the holidays,” said Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. “I am humbled by the hard work and dedication of each and every one of our 650,000 employees who, despite the challenges of the pandemic, helped bring joy and commerce to people across the nation.”

The unprecedented preparations for the 2021 peak season began at the start of the year. These initiatives not only addressed many of the challenges of the 2020 peak but aligned with Delivering for America, the Postal Service’s 10-year plan to achieve financial stability.

These efforts included:

• Workforce stabilization: the conversion of 63,000 precareer employees to career positions as well as a national drive to hire 40,000 seasonal employees;

• Workspace expansion: the leasing of an additional 13 million square feet to assist in mail processing;

• New equipment: the installation of 112 new package sorting machines and 50 large package sorters; and

• Transportation flexibility: the leasing of 3,300 trailers and the addition of 1.6 million square feet to the surface transfer center network.

“Under our 10-year plan, we made major operational improvements and strategic investments across the organization throughout 2021,” DeJoy said.

“It has made a significant difference and contributed to our success this holiday season, but our work isn’t done. Every day is an opportunity to fulfill our commitment of service excellence to the American people — and on that, we intend to deliver.”