Twin Cities USPS sorting facility preparing for busy holiday season

In preparation for another busy holiday season for the U.S. Postal Service, some investments in new technology could help packages get to your doorstep quicker. 

The USPS St. Paul Processing and Distribution Center, which has recently relocated to a facility in Eagan, received a new package sorting machine that operates as much as 12 times faster than the manual process for package sorting used previously. 

The machine can sort anywhere from 2,800 to 3,000 packages an hour. A small machine compared to some at the neighboring USPS facility in Eagan which can process as many as 12,000 packages an hour. 

The new machine uses a camera with a scanner that can read the location the package is going to. Previously, an employee working in a "bull pen" would have to read that address and physically place the package in a corresponding bin based on location. Now the sorting process is done by machine freeing up employees to perform other tasks and getting mail sorted quicker. 

"I’m saving time and money but also getting all the mail cleared faster," plant manager Mike Dornbusch said. 

Dornbusch says the machine is going to help them get packages out quicker this holidays season. Last year, the U.S. Postal Services saw package deliver increase by 48 percent and delivered a record 1.1 billion packages. A spokesperson for USPS says they believe people were shopping online more and were forced to stay far from family members during the pandemic, so they were using the mail more. 

The 2021 holidays season is expected to be busy as well. New machines and the hiring of more employees could alleviate some of the stress at sorting facilities and help customers get their mail quicker. 

"It’s hard to predict the volume. Now I’m just more prepared because of the investment and technology and people," Dornbusch said. 

USPS is looking to hire more employees during the holiday season. For more information on employment opportunities click here.