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Local shippers gearing up for the holidays

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By Brent Schanding, Landmark News Service

 

‘Tis the season for shipping, and professionals at the nation’s three major package exporters are in overdrive this season to rush letters and boxes in time for the holidays.

Postal workers at the Campbellsville United States Postal Service branch say they’re handling between 1,800-2,500 packages daily during this season, while local United Parcel Service (UPS) carriers report volumes are increasing for them. E-commerce is driving demand for FedEx deliveries, too. The company expects to have its busiest day Dec. 10, when it will move a projected 19 million shipments through its global ground, express and freight networks, according to reports from the Memphis, Tenn.,-based courier.

Patience is appreciated during this high-volume season, said Jim Smith, acting supervisor at the Campbellsville USPS.

“Customers should make sure everything is addressed properly to make lines move faster,” he said. “People want to walk in and out. All the clerks and carriers are doing the best they can.”

The post office will play Christmas music in its lobby this season to calm hurried customers, said mail clerk Cherie Bleemer, but some will likely be stressed by the long lines and confusing policies for shipping and receiving gifts.

Prices, shipping deadlines and mailing restrictions can greatly vary depending on package weight, distance traveled and other unpredictable factors such as inclement weather. Some deliveries in northeast areas ravaged by Superstorm Sandy are still being rerouted via other offices, USPS officials said.  

The best advice: be prepared for anything.

“We don’t anticipate damaged or lost items in the mail, but it’s possible with the larger volumes of packages we’re handling,” Smith said.

Smith recommends purchasing insurance on valuable packages and paying extra for registered mail to better track shipments with USPS.

Paul Gilbert, a worker at Chandler’s Office and Copier Sales & Service said Thursday the Campbellsville store is shipping nearly a dozen packages each day. The Main Street merchant serves as a mini hub for UPS. For a small convenience fee, customers can ship their packages from there throughout the U.S. (International deliveries must be made between 5 to 7 p.m. at the UPS Customer Center on Columbia Road.)

“When I ship at the post office I can’t figure out the exact cost without going in to see a worker,” Gilbert said.

UPS shipping offers more transparent rates, he said, and doesn’t charge extra to insure contents of packages up to $100 in value. UPS delivery is often faster than USPS, GIlbert added.

Chandler’s also offers to pack and tape its UPS shipments for a $5 extra charge, to simplify the process for customers.

“Sometimes they don’t have the packaging stuff, or don’t want to be bothered with it,” Gilbert said. “We can do that.”

While FedEx offers limited mailing services here — there’s only a single drop-off box at the Campbellsville post office — customers can print packaging labels online at fed.ex.com.

Local pick-ups are Monday-Friday at 4 p.m. Weekend pick-ups aren’t available. Bulkier boxes that don’t fit in the local FedEx shipment bin can be accommodated at the nearest FedEx Express Ship Center, which is in Elizabethtown. In some cases, FedEx offers same-day or overnight delivery for additional charges.