With pandemic, US Postal Service offering contact-free pickup of packages for the holidays

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The pandemic is forcing holiday gift-giving to change.

The process of shipping presents to loved ones is taking on a spirit of prevention, as at least one major shipper plans to offer contact-free pickup of packages from residential shippers.

More than ever, holiday shipping starts at home, and shipping can begin there too. The U.S. Postal Service’s Click and Ship service gives customers a reason to leave their packages on their front porches for postal pickup. That service provides porch pickup from residential shippers.

Once labels and postage are paid for and printed, a USPS delivery employee maintains social distancing by avoiding contact with the customer while taking possession of their holiday shipments.

“We think once a lot of people try this, they’re going to keep doing it,” Mark Inglett, a Kansas City based spokesperson for U.S. Postal Service, said.

Inglett also said Click and Ship customers who request parcel pickup in the morning hours will often receive same-day service, while afternoon requests may be delayed until the next business day. 

“You can even schedule a carrier pickup right then and there. We’ll set up a time to pickup your packages. You give us a wave from the window, and we remain socially distances and we’re on our way,” Inglett said.

Major logistics providers are also keeping COVID-19 in mind. FedEx is now offering no-contact pickups without a signature. UPS isn’t requiring co-signees to sign for deliveries. DHL, which is known mostly for international shipping, offers On Demand Delivery. That service also waves the need for signatures, and, according to company leadership, has been popular and effective during the pandemic.

“We’ve seen a tremendous increase to the point that we’re also adding an extra day in our delivery cycles. We’re delivering on the weekends as well. People are at home and they can receive their packages,” Nemer Abohasen, DHL’s Midwest U.S. General Manager, said.

All shipping services agree that time is running out. As of this week, around three weeks remain until Christmas Day, and package flow is expected to be at an all-time high. The only sure way to get packages delivered on time — is to ship early.

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