Distribution center explains how it's expediting deliveries this holiday

Jacksonville Network Distribution Center gives tour of facility

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the next few weeks, millions of people across the country will either be sending or expecting Christmas packages in the mail.

Many have already expressed frustration over delivery delays, so the Jacksonville Network Distribution Center invited all news media into one of its facilities to give a tour of the place and explain what it is doing to expedite deliveries.

The massive facility is where millions of mailed packages are sorted and processed before they're delivered to their final destination.

Plant manager Robert Wright said he's aware of the frustration being felt by customers who have complained about late deliveries.

"We're talking about the East Coast and West Coast packages being delivered. That's the delay," Wright said. "Once we get it in our hands here in Jacksonville NDC, we process the mail and get it out the next day."

The U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver approximately 15 billion pieces of mail during this holiday season. According to projections by UPS Inc., 850 million packages will be delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. That amount of volume requires more hands on deck.

"We hired extra employees to come in and assist us with those packages," Wright said.

That's 233 temporary employees, to be exact.

This is the first time in Jacksonville post office history that three of the massive facilities are being used to process packages during the Christmas holiday season.

PHOTOS: Postal Service facility tour gives glimpse into holiday mail processing

"That has really worked in our favor to help move that extra volume we're seeing here in (the) Jacksonville area," Wright said.

But with all that volume, the postal service is asking customers to do their part to make sure packages get to their destination.

"Many times, we'll see a package that may break open and we have to fix it and prepare it. Or the address is not legible, so we encourage that when you take to the post office and mail that package off, make sure it's safe and secure and has a legible address on it," Wright said.

The facility that News4Jax toured was one of only three facilities in the U.S. that sent packages via boat to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irma.

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