Couriers gear up for busiest time of the year

With packages ready to go out and fresh packing material in front of him, Bill Simms, a postal clerk at the U.S. Post Office contract unit at 467 W. Patrick St. in the Patrick Street Center, is ready to wait on customers with shipping needs Friday afternoon. Staff photo by Sam Yu

Eric Long estimates he is one of about 75 seasonal workers hired recently at UPS in Frederick. The company told its employees Dec. 15 will be its busiest day for Christmas deliveries, he said.

“We are busy right now, but it will get much busier,” said Long, 19, who began his seasonal job a week ago.

There are many temporary workers at the UPS location on English Muffin Way, Long said.

“It seems like we got one for every truck,” he said.

Also gearing up for its busiest time of the year is the U.S. Postal Service, which expects to process 545 million pieces of mail every day during this holiday season, totaling nearly 15 billion pieces to be delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, according to its website.

Local post office employees directed questions to their Baltimore District office. Media personnel did not return calls Friday, nor did representatives of FedEx and UPS.

Deepak Hakkar, owner of A-1 Services of Frederick, an authorized U.S. Postal Service contract unit on West Patrick Street, said this is his busiest time of the year.

After more than three years in business, Hakkar said, one recurring experience is that people forget to send their packages on time.

“If they send it on the right dates, it will get there,” Hakkar said. “The post office will deliver express mail on Christmas Day, but it will be for a premium charge.”

The busiest mailing day this season is projected to be Monday, Dec. 16, when more than 600 million pieces of mail are expected to be processed, the Postal Service says on its website. The same day, 6 million customers are expected to visit post offices nationwide. The busiest delivery day for mail will be Dec. 18 and the busiest day for packages will be Dec. 19, according to the Postal Service.

“The real rush” for Hakkar starts today, after Black Friday shopping, he said. It’s only 25 days until Christmas, he pointed out.

Packages sent express mail by 5 p.m. Dec. 24 will arrive on Christmas Day, Hakkar said. Activities at A-1 Services of Frederick will be “upside down” on Christmas Eve as people rush to get their packages in the mail, the business owner said.

The post office offers these tips for getting packages delivered on time: For estimated delivery by Dec. 24, send first-class mail by Dec. 20; priority mail by Dec. 21 and priority mail express by Dec. 23.

Extended hours position Hakkar's business to serve many customers, he said.

“We are the only place in the entire Frederick (area) that stays open until 8 p.m.,” he said.

The post office closes at 6 p.m.

Not everyone will be caught up in the last-minute frenzy, such as Betsy Mahmassani, of Frederick.

“I’m hooked on online shopping,” said Mahmassani, who was shipping a package Friday to her father in Virginia at a FedEx store on West Patrick Street in Frederick. “You just sit at your desk and you have a lot of options right now, like free shipping.

"Sometimes I’m kind of embarrassed because a brown (UPS) truck is always at my house.”

(1) comment

president8444

Most businesses want extra income,our USPS. Mostly complain.[thumbdown]

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