Birmingham Postal Annex gets new technology to help with holiday packages

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 6:32 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2021 at 3:03 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More than nine million packages came through the Birmingham Post Office Annex last holiday season, but because of big delays, some of your presents never made it under the tree. But, USPS is now adding more technology.

“It’s a lot more processing power that we have now that we didn’t have before,” acting Plant Manager of Birmingham Gregory Curtis said. “The machine runs about 3,000 packages an hour, compared to throwing off 250 packages manually an hour.”

The annex has new technology that is an automated package sorter. USPS spokesperson Debra Jean Fetterly said the Postal Service is modernizing it’s operations to accommodate growing customer demand for package delivery. They installed 112 package sorters nationwide. Fetterly said this is in preparation for the 2021 holiday season.

“The Postal Service already is realizing service improvements across the board,” Fetterly said. “We are well prepared to handle peak holiday volume and to provide our customers with the outstanding service that they expect and deserve this holiday season and beyond.”

“Handling it manually obviously slows down the process and it takes a lot longer to do,” Curtis said. “So, having a machine do it is streamlining the process and moving the mail a lot more efficiently through our building. We wont have a backlog and we wont get as congested as we had been.”

Curtis said with these new machines, they expect peak holiday season to go smoothly.

“At peak, we will be working this facility 24 hours a day, running the machines about 20 hours a day, and we will have about 150 people.”

“Package sorter deployment is part of our “Delivering for America” 10-year plan that includes a 40 billion dollar investment in employees, equipment, and technology,” Fetterly said.

There are three machines in Birmingham that will help with sorting. But, Curtis said they will also still have manual sorting.

Curtis said they have also added another new sorting machine to the Huntsville facility to help improve shipping statewide.

“We are looking forward to the holiday season,” he said. “I don’t think we are going to have any issues whatsoever here in Birmingham.”

With automated sorting, Curtis said you shouldn’t have to speed up your holiday shopping. You can order online and ship whenever you’re ready.

“Whether they order early or like they normally do for the last couple seasons, we will be ready for them,” Curtis said. “We have enough processing power; we can handle the volume.”


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