We wanted to share some experiences we are seeing with shipping issues lately.
We have been seeing USPS tracking scans fail after the initial pickup occurs here. The pickup is the first scan on the tracking, which should be followed by a tracking scan at every location the package arrives at or departs from. However, the packages continue to move through transit, but may not continue tracking. USPS's tracking system and their transit are independent from one another…so they often continue moving with no tracking…sometimes until they reach their final destination! We have seen several instances where the only 2 tracking events that happened were a pickup from here, and a delivery on the other side of the country.
While most of the issues have just been lack of tracking scans, we have seen some actual delays, although more rare. We have had several instances recently of packages with USPS being delayed during transit. Several U.S. hubs are prone to severe delays, such as Detroit, as well as others. International packages are sometimes delayed as much as 30 days on top of the original long transit times. Although we've noticed an uptick in these occurrences, packages within the USA are rarely delayed more than a few days from what we've noticed.
Many people find it difficult to understand just how much things have changed in shipping over the last several months. On top of increased package quantities due to people shopping online more and USPS workers getting sick (real or not, they've been calling out in masse), there are other big issues at play also. International hubs have been overwhelmed because of packages being refused by other countries and vice versa. The pile up causes everything to move slower through those facilities. Also, USPS heavily uses commercial flights to transport mail between hubs in the USA. Well, as you may know, flights have been drastically cut in number with fewer people flying because of Covid-19. That has severely affected USPS's ability to move packages between hubs, causing a nationwide shift in patterns...almost always increasing delays.
Now, the new Postmaster General has announced massive cuts resulting in layoffs, but most impactful, loss of overtime for workers. That means that packages still undelivered at their scheduled quit time, will remain undelivered. There's no staying late to make sure everything gets where it's supposed to be. Packages will likely be left sitting at several points during the transit process where they would have moved previously. Literally, workers have been instructed that "not everything needs to be delivered every day".
In other words, everyone should expect delays...as well as tracking issues. It's important to understand that these delays are likely to continue throughout 2020 and they are outside of our control. The good news is, packages are arriving intact and undamaged as they have previously done. USPS's success rate in packages not being lost remains reliable.
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