Shipping demand increases this holiday season


JASPER — December is always the busiest month for Cathy Siebert, owner of the Mailboxes & Parcel Depot in Jasper. She’s working six days a week, and her employees are working extra hours to make sure everyone gets their packages before the holidays.

This year, with COVID-19, the depot is even busier than ever before.

The United States is at a high risk level for traveling, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC is not prohibiting domestic travel in the state or country, but doesn’t recommend it either, even if families aren’t feeling sick.

Nearly every customer that came into Siebert’s business on Monday said they were shipping packages to family members because they won’t be traveling to see them, she said.

“Everyone is disappointed, but you do what you have to do,” she said. “That’s just the way life is now. We have to make the best of it.”

The depot ships with UPS, FedEx and the United States Postal Service, and each company has differing levels of business each day. In general, those using UPS and FedEx should send their packages by Dec. 15 if they want to use standard ground service and make sure the packages will arrive by Christmas. Otherwise, it’s recommended to use priority shipping, which will cost more.

The last day to use two-day service is Dec. 22, and the last day to use overnight shipping is Dec. 23.

Online shopping and shipping volumes are expected to break records this holiday season, a FedEx spokesperson said in an email. FedEx projects that peak shipping volumes will increase by 22%.

Although the company has been preparing for months in advance for an unprecedented holiday season, it recommended that people ship as early as possible.

Just as Siebert’s employees are working overtime to deliver packages, FedEx and UPS are, as well. Both companies are hiring at least 70,000 temporary employees for the holiday season.

This is after the carriers have already been at capacity for months due to a general increase in online shopping because of COVID-19. Earlier this month, UPS announced it would place a shipping cap on some retailers during the holiday season.

Siebert encouraged customers to ship their packages as soon as possible and to shop at local businesses, as well.

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