USPS Just Made This Major Update to Deliveries, Effective Immediately
The carrier is rolling out a new service for customers.
From Cincinnati, Ohio, to Memphis, Tennessee, several communities across the country have bombarded the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) with complaints about delivery delays in just the last month alone. While staffing shortages and winter weather issues have made an impact on the timing, changes made by the USPS last year have certainly not helped either. In Oct. 2021, the agency introduced new service standards that slowed down timing for some mail by 30 percent. But now, USPS has some good news: They have made another major update to deliveries in hopes of speeding up timing. Read on to find out how the agency is further changing its process.
USPS is expanding a new delivery service to several states.
On March 23, the USPS announced that it has started further rolling out a new delivery service. According to the agency, it is now offering USPS Connect Local in five new states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware. "It's a remarkable new delivery option," Postmaster John Tortorice said during a kickoff event for USPS Connect Local.
According to the Postal Service, the service is meant to offer local businesses affordable next-day delivery or same-day delivery to local customers. In some locations, USPS will even offer Sunday delivery from businesses. "We've teamed up with some of your favorite local stores to have essentials delivered right to your door," the agency states on its website.
The agency first announced this initiative last month.
USPS Connect Local is just one part of a four-part delivery program that the postal agency announced this year called USPS Connect. Alongside the local option, the Postal Service also developed USPS Connect Regional, USPS Connect National, and USPS Connect Returns. According to a Feb. 22 press release, the entire USPS Connect program is meant to act as "delivery solutions" to help businesses meet growing consumer demand for fast delivery and convenient returns.
"USPS Connect provides businesses of all sizes what they have been asking for—an affordable way to meet consumer demand for fast delivery," Louis DeJoy, Postmaster General and CEO of the USPS, said in a statement. "A pivotal point in our Delivering for America plan, it positions us to more fully leverage our network capacity to increase volume and revenue so we can continue to serve the American people with affordable, reliable mail and package delivery."
But USPS Connect Local is not available everywhere just yet.
USPS Connect Regional, Connect National, and Connect Returns are all available now to businesses and organizations, but the USPS Connect Local service is not available everywhere yet. According to the Postal Service, this part of the initiative is being rolled out in phases. It initially started out as a test in Texas markets in Jan. 2022 and was then expanded to more than 800 locations in Texas in February.
Now customers in six different states now have access to USPS Connect Local, but many of the other states will have to wait months for their chance. According to the agency, the service is not expected to hit its total target of more than 3,400 locations until Sept. 30. With the current schedule, it appears that states like Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon will be some of the last to receive access to USPS Connect Local in fall 2022.
USPS says the new service will also help with increased mail demand.
The Postal Service has been working against an influx of mail recently, with Tortorice reporting that the country's parcel volume had increased by 37 percent between 2019 and 2020. It's only expected to grow even more over time, with it estimated to nearly double by 2026. During a press briefing, Steve Monteith, the USPS chief customer and marketing officer, said that "it is no secret that customer package growth exploded in 2020."
The Postal Service said that its shipping and package volume increased to 7.3 billion that year. Then in 2021, it increased to 7.6 billion. But both Monteith and Tortorice said the new USPS Connect program is meant to help position the agency to take better advantage of this increased demand through ongoing network improvements, new equipment, new pricing, and enhanced operational precision.
"Even though we have seen a bit of a tail off [in customer package growth], it is still much higher than what we saw in 2019," Monteith said. "We expect that to continue to grow. One of the things that the consumer has required is faster delivery, a lot of focus and attention on that one-to-two-day delivery. With USPS Connect, it is our approach to help shippers meet their consumers needs. USPS Connect builds on our unparalleled last-mile delivery network to provide solutions to shippers and their customers."