Calvin Palmquist agrees that his job as a mail carrier resembles a “forced march” most of the year.
And when when Christmas rolls around?
“Even more so,” Palmquist said with a smile.
Despite the increased workload this time of year, Palmquist and others with the U.S. Postal Service relish the challenge to move a staggering mountain of cards, parcels and packages in time for Christmas.
And because of new partnerships with former competitors, delivery companies, including the U.S. Post Office, are way up in the number of parcels they need to get out by Christmas.
Roseburg Postmaster Carter Clark said this year has been particularly busy for them, because of the number of shipping companies deliver that packages to them to be distributed.
“FedEx does it now, Amazon’s doing it, and UPS does it and we’re partners with those folks now, where we used to be in competition. We’re delivering all that stuff now because of our infrastructure, and it’s a lot cheaper for us than them,” Clark said.
Clark said the Roseburg Post Office delivers hundreds of packages each day from UPS and FedEx that they deliver in what they call “the last mile.”
The packages are brought to the post office and they distribute them in their area, making it much cheaper to deliver the packages.
“That’s why a lot of customers are confused, because they think it’s coming from UPS and we’re actually the ones that end up delivering it,” Clark said. “It’s twice the normal workload we’d normally see.”
Clark said the amount of packages delivered by the Roseburg Post Office is up about 15 percent locally over the same period last year, and they get a double hit during the holiday season.
There’s a big jump in cards and letters, as well as a big increase in the parcel volume, thanks to an agreement to deliver Amazon packages.
“They drop at our back door about 5:30 a.m., and all of those packages are committed for delivery for today,” Clark said. “That’s been one of the biggest things that we’ve had.”
Thursday was their busiest delivery day of the year, and last Monday was their busiest mailing day.
“We’re expecting to deliver 750 million packages nationwide, up 12 percent over last year,” Clark said.
For the packages destined for the 10 rural routes in Roseburg, Clark said in an effort to get the them to their destination on time, many of the drivers take their own vehicles and make several trips in order to make sure they get where they’re going in a timely manner.
The drivers, who are usually done by 5 p.m each day, have been working as late as 8 p.m. trying to get the packages out.
The Roseburg office has added employees during the holiday rush to accommodate the increased volume. They put on two Christmas assistants plus the extra drivers.
The U.S. Postal Service isn’t the only delivery company seeing an increased workload. At the UPS facility on Old Highway 99 in Green, the delivery drivers are also working extra hours to get all the packages out by Christmas.
“The average driver at the Roseburg facility normally delivers about 300 packages on an average day. This time of year, it’s more like 400 to 500,” said Trisha Letourneau, the Northwest District Communications representative for UPS.
Letourneau said UPS has also added package cars to the on-road fleet and brought on seasonal drivers to handle the surge in volume. Plus, most of their drivers have helpers to assist in making the deliveries.
With a high quantity of on-line shopping this year, their volume of parcels has also increased by a significant amount. They expected about a 14 percent increase between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.