Christmas holidays means big business for USPS

The U.S. Postal Service has been busy the past couple of weeks year thanks to a surge in online shopping.
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(NBC) - The U.S. Postal Service has been busy the past couple of weeks year thanks to a surge in online shopping.

An aggressive campaign to take on its private sector rivals.

The U.S. Postal Service is on track for another record holiday season with package volumes already exceeding forecasts.

"It's just a lot. We've been working really hard, overtime and everything, just to get them delivered", said Ceirra Willis of USPS.

The USPS expects to move more than 26 million parcels, which is 12 percent more than its busiest package delivery day in 2013.

Last Christmas when an estimated two million UPS and Fedex shipments were late, the postal service didn't have the same issue. One reason, a Sunday delivery partnership with amazon in key markets.

This season that strategy's been expanded, with the USPS delivering amazon and its own priority mail packages every Sunday in major markets since mid-November.

"It helps us get the work load out before the Monday volume comes in, and most people are home or not coming from church during the days. And we believe at least 95% of the packages deliverable on Sundays", said Eddie Banner of USPS.

On a typical Sunday in December the trucks in Newark, NJ area make about two delivery rounds a piece. Peak volumes are so high, in fact, that this station has to rent U-Hauls to handle additional capacity.

Packages have become increasingly important to the postal service -which doesn't use taxpayer money to fund operations. It's a fast-growing business that's now offsetting the decade-long steep decline in first class mail, the agency's biggest and most profitable segment.

To grow its package business, USPS has been targeting Fedex and UPS customers slashing prices on priority mail services and capitalizing on its relative success last Christmas but it collaborates as well.

"In addition to its own priority mail service, the USPS does something called the "Last mile delivery," taking on the last the leg of shipments for UPS and Fedex."

Like its private sector counterparts the USPS needs to get this season right even if it means deliveries on Christmas Day.

"It's a job for me, but it means something to me because I like customer servicing, and I like to see people smile and everyone loves to get packages. I feel like a elf", said Ceirra Willis.

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