The Postal Service needs very little ramp-up for peak season 2023, Postmaster General (PMG) Louis DeJoy told attendees at the Fall 2023 Mailers Technical Advisory Meeting (MTAC) on October 17.
He said the Postal Service will only need to add about 9,000 seasonal employees because of the stability of the organization. Peak is going to be good this year, he said, adding that the Postal Service is a learning organization and has built on previous peaks seasons. “This year we’re tight,” DeJoy said, noting that the Postal Service is not adding extra delivery days or a surcharge for packages because it wants to grow the package market. The package market is projected to grow 6 percent and the Postal Service wants a chunk of that. He noted the Postal Service has about 25 percent of the small package market, about 20 percent of the large item market but just 5 percent of the middle market. The reason for that, DeJoy said, is that this sector needs more support with systems and the Postal Service needs to provide that.
The PMG also talked about the need to cut costs, noting that 55 percent of post offices and 75 percent of ZIP Codes don’t make money. He has been increasingly talking about sustainability and intends to promote the Postal Service as the most sustainable shipper for packages because it is already going to every address every day to deliver mail, so delivering packages at the same time is the most environmentally responsible option. “I am confident we will have our fair share of package growth,” DeJoy said.
The PMG also talked generally about the network redesign, calling it a living plan because adjustments must be made as issues come up. He did indicate the Postal Service wants to take the approach of establishing a regional processing and distribution center (RPDC) and then building up the local processing centers (LPCs) and sorting and delivery centers (S&DCs) around it. Gregory White, USPS Executive Manager, Strategic Initiatives, further elaborated on the future network of RPDCs, S&DCs, LPCs and delivery units (DUs), with a focus on the S&DCs. He said the S&DCs can act as DUs in some cases and, in other cases, can consolidate packages and letters, utilizing automation, and then send this mail off to the existing DUs. In the latter case they would be considered transfer hubs. To date, the Postal Service has activated 23 S&DCs, consisting of about 2,400 routes with a population reach of more than 3 million. The process is paused for peak but will resume in February 2024. White said the Postal Service has heard the industry’s concerns about inadequate notice of changes in facilities and, moving
forward, intends to give the industry 45 days’ notice of any S&DC launch.