Increased shipping volume expected this holiday season

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NEW YORK — The U.S. Postal Service kicked off the holiday season today with its improved Priority Mail products and new Gingerbread Houses Forever stamps.

Mail delivery

The Postal Service expects to process 545 million pieces of mail every day throughout this holiday season; totaling nearly 15 billion pieces of mail to be delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

Competitive package volume also is expected to increase by approximately 12 percent from last year to about 420 million packages during the 2013 holiday season. The Postal Service is ready to deliver holiday greetings and gifts to more than 152 million addresses nationwide.

Busy time of year

The busiest mailing day this season is projected to be Dec. 16, when more than 600 million pieces of mail are expected to be processed. The same day, 6 million customers are expected to visit Post Offices nationwide. The busiest delivery day for mail will be Dec. 18 and the busiest day for packages will be Dec. 19.

This is the first holiday season that consumers and businesses can take advantage of the recently revamped Priority Mail, which now comes with free insurance, day-specific delivery and free tracking.

Cost cutting shipping

With our low-cost Flat-Rate shipping product — which has no additional surcharges — the Postal Service anticipates that its highly popular Priority Mail offerings will be very attractive to cost-conscious small businesses and holiday shippers. Consumers can avoid any holiday hassle by visiting usps.com — the Postal Service’s website that will help make mailing and shipping easier.

Nearly 75 million customers will skip the trip to the Post Office altogether and take advantage of convenient online shipping. Click-N-Ship and other online services allow customers to print shipping labels, order free Priority Mail boxes, purchase postage and even request free next-day package pickup.

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