Shipping companies expect booming business this holiday season

Jessica Hughes waits in line to send packages of homemade cookies at a U.S. Postal Service facility in December 2011 in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/The Knoxville News Sentinel, Saul Young)

Andrew Mollenbeck,

WASHINGTON – Americans are expected to ship a record number of packages this holiday season, and the good cheer extends to those delivering the goods.

“The Postal Service this year will deliver over 365 million packages this holiday season,” the U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe announced in the nation’s capital Thursday.

“That’s up 20 percent over last year,” he says.

FedEx and UPS also anticipate record deliveries.

UPS expects to deliver 527 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas, significantly more than last year’s record of 480 million. Its busiest day will be Dec. 20, UPS tells WTOP.

FedEx estimates that it will make 280 million shipments during that same time period, which would be a 13 percent increase, FedEx says.

“All of the package increase we’re seeing is coming from the increase in e- commerce,” Donahoe says.

The Postal Service expects to handle 18 billion cards, letters and packages during the holidays.

Although Donahoe predicts a record number of package deliveries, he says that doesn’t offset the drop in First Class Mail.

“You really can’t make the difference up in packages. But we’re of course going after packages to grow the top line of the organization,” he says.

Dec. 17 is expected to be the busiest mailing day of the year and Dec. 22 is the mailing deadline for most destinations.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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