WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The holiday season is right around the corner, and the United States Postal Service is already getting ready.

USPS is using new technology to aid in delivery. It’s called the small delivery unit sorter. It is one of three types of new machines that have been installed since the beginning of 2021 as part of the Postal Service’s Delivering for America plan.

“This is one of 249 across the country,” said postmaster Luis Franco.

When asked how much more efficient this $500,000 machine is, Franco replied “This machine can process 2,800 packages an hour which is equivalent to 10 clerks.”

First, an employee places the package on the belt, then the machine reads the label. The scanner measures and weighs each package, then figures out which route it needs to go on which tells this machine which box it needs to land in.

All of this new equipment combined will expand the postal service’s daily processing capacity to 60 million parcels nationwide. But they still need more manpower.

“We’re hiring 400 additional holiday helpers. There’s a hiring event here in Wilkes-Barre on October 21 from 11:00-3:00,” explained Franco.

It’s all in preparation for the mass influx of mail that will soon have to be delivered across the area, an amount that continues to increase thanks to the pandemic.

“With all the lockdowns during the pandemic, there were a lot more people at home. With the restrictions and not being able to go out, people were ordering a lot more online. We struggled at first during 2020 because of the new increase, but now with these new machines, we are geared up to process more than 60 million packages a day,” described Franco.

And the United States Postal Service just released its 2022 holiday shipping deadlines. Send first-class mail by December 17, priority mail by December 19 and priority mail express by December 23.

To find out more on the United States Postal Service’s temporary pricing changes, as well as new package regulations, visit the USPS website.