USPS begins working overtime as Christmas nears

OPA-LOCKA, FLA. (WSVN) - The busiest mailing season of the year has begun, as U.S. Postal Service employees in Opa-locka prepare thousands of packages for shipment.

USPS’ Royal Palm Processing and Distribution Center gave 7News a tour of the facility, where workers were seen sorting through packages. “Daily volume we have 500,000 to 750,000 packages processed in 24 hours,” said USPS spokesperson Debra Fetterly. “In the two weeks before Christmas, we will reach at least a million if not more.”

However, workers said the holiday preparation began long before December arrived.

“We are geared up for the holiday,” said Fetterly. “We start planning during July. We have meetings, determine how much staffing we’re going to need, the anticipated volume over last year. This year, we’re anticipating a 10 percent increase in packages.”

Extra staff has been added as the workload increases, USPS said. “We do have additional staffing for the holidays,” said Fetterly, “and plus, our regular employees are always geared up for this time of year. We’ve got a lot of energy, and we’re here to serve our customers.”

With the extra packages out for delivery comes an increase in thieves looking to intercept those packages.

U.S. Postal Inspector Ivan Ramirez said to be watchful of packages once they arrive. “If a package is left unattended, well, someone might drive by and see it and think, ‘Oh, this is an easy enough crime. Let me go ahead and take the package.'”

Ramirez provided solutions to those who may be worried about their packages being left unattended. “If you’re able to have your package delivered perhaps to a neighbor or someone you’re in good terms with, perhaps a relative or your place of employment.”

The USPS also offers customers the option to directly ship packages to the post office. “Now, we understand the convenience of ordering online is not really having to go anywhere else, but this would probably be your best bet,” said Ramirez.

Ramirez said those who need a last-minute destination change have the ability to do so, as well. “You can go on and intercept your own package,” he said. “You’re gonna be able to re-route it. You’ll run the tracking, look to see where it’s at and you can actually give it a new destination, a new address.”

“The holidays are a special occasion, so we recommend you take these steps because as you know, during this time of year, the grinches will come out,” said Ramirez.

USPS announced their deadlines for holiday shipping are:

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