A swell in the number of holiday packages this season has led the United States Postal Service to provide Sunday package delivery for Iowa City and a few other cities throughout the state.
Richard Watkins, a Postal Service spokesman, said Sunday the double digit increase in packages being delivered throughout the holiday season pushed officials to consider an additional delivery day to ensure packages arrive in time for the holidays.
Sunday delivery in Iowa kicked off yesterday in Iowa City, Marion, Des Moines, Mason City, Ankeny, Burlington, Waukee, Ottumwa, Davenport, Dubuque, and in Rock Island, Ill.
“Those communities are the highest package volume post offices that we have state-wide,” Watkins said, adding there are other states that’ve enacted Sunday delivery for some of their larger cities.
The postal service reports package volume has increased nationwide by 12 percent in the last year to 420 million packages during the 2013 holiday season. Watkins said he believes the increase largely correlates with the increase in online shopping.
Postal service officials say today is anticipated to be the busiest mailing day with more than 600 million pieces of mail processed. Officials anticipate Wednesday will be the busiest for letter mail and Thursday for packages.
The Des Moines Network Distribution Center typically processes 150,000 packages on an average weeknight but Watkins said postal service officials anticipate that will double this Wednesday to more than 300,000 packages. Watkins said based on the volume of packages this week could mean delivery again on Dec. 22, the Sunday before Christmas.
Watkins said the postal service has used Sunday delivery previously but only for priority mail packages. He said he believes Sunday delivery will provide additional revenue for the agency, although he couldn’t estimate how much.
The Sunday service in Iowa follows a partnership announced in November between the U.S. Postal Service and online retailer, Amazon, to deliver packages to Amazon Prime members on Sundays throughout the holidays. The service launched for residents in Los Angeles and the New York metropolitan area. The U.S. Postal Service and Amazon plan to expand the service to more U.S. cities in 2014 including Dallas, Houston, Phoenix and New Orleans, according to an Amazon press release.
Watkins said given the success with the Amazon partnership and this latest effort, its likely Sunday package delivery will be used again in the future.
“Given the increase in online sales could be mean more opportunities for the postal service,” Watkins said of possible future efforts.