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Postal Service, other carriers facing 'unprecedented' package volume

Carriers are dealing with astronomical volumes of packages this holiday season, which is also impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Analysts and industry insiders won't know until after the new year just how many packages were shipped during the 2020 holiday season. 

Union reps for the National Association of Letter Carriers tell 2 On Your Side that the volume this season has been unprecedented. 

"I mean, I've got carriers telling me, they've got hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of scans on those packages every single day," David Grosskopf Jr. said. 

Grosskopf is the President of the NALC Branch 3 in Buffalo, which represents more than 2,000 mail carriers in the region. 

"Just the sheer volume of what we are handling is astronomical," Grosskopf added.

With the volume that, not only the United States Postal Service but also FedEx and UPS are dealing with, hundreds of Western New Yorkers are left wondering where their packages are. 

2 On Your Side spoke to Matt Cannon, a Wellsville resident, Wednesday afternoon about several packages he's been waiting for. Cannon says he ordered them at the end of November. 

"Around the 28th to the 30th," Cannon said. "We stopped getting updates around December 6th on most packages." 

Cannon said these were packages for family members and his children.

"We're kind of in that waiting game," Cannon said. 

Cannon isn't alone. Dozens of WGRZ viewers responded to a social media post asking about this topic. 

The majority of viewers that responded say they haven't received updates on their packages since the time between December 8 and December 12. The tracking information simply says "in transit, arriving late."

"Multiple trailers are waiting to be unloaded," Grosskopf said in regards to the Buffalo USPS distribution facility. "Logistically we're behind the 8-ball once again, like we were three or four months ago."

Grosskopf did point out that it isn't a lack of effort by postal workers, even the USPS itself. They simply can't keep up with the volume. 

Nationally, the USPS hired 50,000 seasonal employees to try and soften the holiday blow management were expecting. 2 On Your Side reached out to the local postmaster in Buffalo for hiring and volume figures, but we have yet to receive that information. 

Grosskopf says he understands the public being frustrated by the lack of updates and late packages. He says that it's not the fault of your neighborhood mail carrier and highlighted some things you can do to help make their job more efficient.

"Leave the porch lights on so we can see the house number," Grosskopf said. "Don't block mailboxes and make sure the path to your mailbox is clear of decorations or other objects."