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The holiday mail rush

Local USPS center will get a chunk of the 607 million packages expected nationwide today

Posted: December 16, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 16, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Mail handler Luis Jimenez spreads parcels out on a conveyer belt as hundreds of pieces of mail are sorted on the floor of the Santa Clarita Processing and Distribution Center in Castaic on Friday. Signal photo by Dan Watson.

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Today is the busiest day of the year for the United States Postal Service, and things are sure to be humming at the Santa Clarita Processing and Distribution Center.

The USPS is expected to process an estimated 607 million pieces of mail today.

“We’re ready,” USPS spokesman Richard Maher said. “We’re ready to process and deliver for the holidays.”

On average, the post office processes 528 million pieces of mail per day nationally. However, it expected that it will increase to 545 million pieces during the holiday period.

The processing center in Castaic serves a wide area of Southern California as the Postal Service has consolidated other zones and shut down older, less mechanized processing centers elsewhere.

Volume during the holidays is expected to be 1,105,901 letters postmarked and 412,460 parcels processed daily. That compares to 710,335 letters and 297,406 parcels processed during an average work day.

Maher said post offices around the country are expected to see a higher volume of mail this year compared to last holiday season.

Although the post office will experience high mail traffic, Maher said there’s “more certainty” that customers will have their mail in time for the holidays.

“There’s improved priority mail, free merchandise insurance and enhanced tracking, among other services,” Maher said.

According to USPS.com, if mailers want their items delivered by Dec. 24, they should ship their items by Dec. 20 via First-Class Mail, Dec. 21 via Priority Mail, and Dec. 23 via Priority Mail Express.

More helpful holiday shipping tips can also be found on the website.

USPS has announced that post offices nationwide will be open Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Most post offices will shorten retail lobby hours and close at noon on these dates, and regular mail delivery will be unaffected.

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