Postal Updates

USPS deploys new sorting machines for packages

Jun 1, 2021, 2 PM
The United States Postal Service is deploying small delivery unit sorter machines to handle increasing volumes of package mail during the upcoming holiday mailing season. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service.

Washington Postal Scene by Bill McAllister

The United States Postal Service is accelerating the installation of new package-sorting machines in an effort to avoid another package backlog during the upcoming holiday mailing season.

According to the USPS website, the new machines are replacing mail-sorting machines in some facilities as letter volume continues to plummet while parcel volume continues to surge.

A story posted May 14 on the agency’s Link website said that seven of the “small delivery unit sorter (SDUS) machines” had been installed and another 93 are to be placed in operation by the holiday mailing season.

In April the USPS said it was buying 138 package sorters and had plans to purchase even more.

“Due to the decline in mail volume, the organization will relocate or remove unnecessary letter- and flat-sorting equipment as appropriate to make much needed space for package processing,” according to an article posted May 27 on Link.

The moves are said to be part of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s 10-year Delivering for America plan.

“These initiatives and investments give our employees the infrastructure and technology they need to serve today’s e-commerce marketplace reliably and efficiently,” DeJoy said.

The new sorters require less than 1,500 square feet of space, compared to the larger automated delivery unit sorters that handle letters and typically require 2,000 square feet, according to the May 14 Link story.

“The small delivery unit sorter uses the best assets of the larger mail processing equipment in a scaled-down size,” Roxane Weaver, a York, Pa., clerk, said in the May 14 article.

Kim Frum, a Postal Service spokeswoman, said the new machines are capable of scanning addresses and barcodes on parcels and routing them.

“The new sorting machines have the ability to sort between 2,500 to 4,500 packages per hour and will provide a faster and more efficient way to sort mail,” she said.

“They will be placed in mail processing facilities and large delivery units to sort first-class packages, Priority Mail/Priority Mail Express packages and flat bundles,” she said.

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