Background

We conducted this audit of late and extra trips at the Richmond Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in Sandston, VA, to provide Postal Service management with timely information on operational risks.

On July 10, 2020, the postmaster general announced operational changes. Specifically, the Postal Service would eliminate unnecessary late and extra trips outside of regularly scheduled transportation service. This initiative would require mail to be transported on regular routes or held until the next regular route is available.

Late trips occur when various conditions cause a delay in the arrival or departure of transportation beyond the scheduled times. When mail processing operations do not process mail timely or mail volume is above normal or expected levels, managers may have to call extra trips to transport this mail. Late and extra trips to delivery units can cause disruptions and increase the number of carriers returning after 6 p.m. When carriers return after 6 p.m., customer service can suffer and mail collected by the carriers may be late to the P&DC. In addition, late returning carriers can cause increased overtime and penalty overtime costs.

The Richmond P&DC is in the Mid-Atlantic Division of the Logistics and Processing Operations Eastern Region and processes letters, flats, and parcels. From July 1 to September 30, 2020, it reported 7,391 late trips (fourth highest among P&DCs) and 756 extra trips (23rd highest among P&DCs) from the plant to delivery units. Our objective was to assess the causes of late and extra trips from the Richmond P&DC to delivery units.

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Comments (62)

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  • anon

    My package has been sitting at the Richmond distribution center since May 7th. It is now May 17th. What is going on? My package is several days late now.

    May 17, 2021
  • anon

    I am currently waiting on two separate packages from Ohio that were delivered to the distribution center in Richmond,VA. The first one is more than 6 WEEKS LATE & the second has been sitting there for 3 days as of 4/15 21. How do these incompetent people keep their jobs?!! Only in the USA and only in the federal government! Furthermore,I am unable to reach a website or phone number to file a complaint! How convenient for them! WTF!

    May 15, 2021
  • anon

    What is the problem in Sandston? The wait times are longer and longer. 3 day delivery is a joke to this facility.

    May 13, 2021
  • anon

    This is ridiculous. I ordered some parts to complete a motorcycle build. My dad has been battling pancreatic cancer for over a year now and is finally in good enough health to take a ride. I can not complete my bike to do so with him because my parts have been sitting in this facility since April 28. They made it from MN to Virginia in a day and was in and out of Merrifield in 3 hours. Why are they here for two weeks and the only notification I have received is "In Transit, Arriving late". Please fix this problem

    May 11, 2021
  • anon

    Hello Timothy. Thank you for your message. Regarding your concern, please contact Postal Service Consumer Affairs Office at https://postalpro.usps.com/ppro-tools/consumer-affairs

    May 13, 2021
  • anon

    There needs to be an investigation at the Sandston facility. My package showed it was in transit now its suddenly disappeared after almost a month. This is ridiculous! I even called the facility since I just want my package back and will dispute the charges.

    May 10, 2021
  • anon

    In reading all of the complaints below, I find it incredible that the problems of late delivery of mail continues at this facility. Why does the USPS put up with this? I have a package that was "processed" through this facility on April 30. It is still in that facility, which is 10 days. My estimated date for delivery was supposed to be May 1. Today is May 10, and still no package. I have been to my Ashland, Va. post office once, have called the post office again, and they can't do anything for me until it arrives with them. I got the "covid delays" excuse, which is ridiculous. I am so frustrated, and don't know when (if ever) my package will arrive. If I could, I would drive over there for 20 minutes and pick the package up. I don't know if it is stolen, and whether to file a claim. I am going to contact my congressman.

    May 10, 2021
  • anon

    Hello Sandy. Thank you for your message. Regarding your concern, please contact Postal Service Consumer Affairs Office at https://postalpro.usps.com/ppro-tools/consumer-affairs

    May 13, 2021
  • anon

    Inspector general your visit was not successful

    May 09, 2021
  • anon

    Missing mail

    May 08, 2021
  • anon

    The Sandston distribution center is a disgrace to the USPS. Packages are received there and sit for weeks. Our most recent package has been there since April 28 and is still there. EVERYTHING that passes through there for delivery to Hayes/Bena Virginia is late. One of our packages arrived in Sandston Feb 3, 2021 we did not receive it until Feb 25, 2021 We didn't receive our Christmas mail until late Jan, our Valentine's mail was received in March, now our Mother's Day gifts are still sitting there. The PONY EXPRESS was faster than this location.

    May 04, 2021
  • anon

    I had my mail forwarded to me from Texas on April 7th. Last update I got was on April 16 with the usual "in transit" reply which I found out from the local post office means it is still Richmond. I PAID for 2 day shipping. Are they going to refund me? Of course not. If my package ever arrives I have to have it forwarded to me in another state. I pray it doesn't go through the Richmond distribution center again and ends up in the land of the lost. I put in a complaint to Consumer Affairs and they haven't contacted me. Don't give me the Covid excuse, I travel all over and have NEVER had an issue until Samson in Richmond. I will exclusively us UPS from here on out. Someone from the Inspector Generals office needs to revisit the distribution center and clean up the mess.

    May 04, 2021
  • anon

    I have over $200 worth of work items that I needed in a hurry. I paid over $50 in priority shipping. That was April 19th. April 20th they arrived in Sandston. On the 23rd they finally changed and updated to “In transit, Arriving late” , the last time that updated was on April 25th, still saying the same thing- “In Transit, Arriving Late”. Its now May 3rd and it has to change. I filed a missing package complaint, a local post master called and told me the old “short staffed due to covid” complaint, said he’d send an email that the items were time sensitive and needed to be located. That was on April 28th. Still nothing has moved. Honestly I worry that I’m never going to see these 2 important, expensive, time sensitive packages. Why charge for priority if you can’t deliver the mail on time in the first place? I live an hour and a half from Richmond and would drive there right this minute if they’d actually give me my packages. The post master says they just have lots of trucks full of old mail- some a month or more past due- sitting in their lot not moving while they take in newer trucks and get that mail out. They cant even be bothered to process stuff in order of its arrival. Its a sloppy disappointing mess. If you did an audit, you may wanna do another one or you are just as complicit in this mess as the workers in Sandston are.

    May 03, 2021
  • anon

    Hello Mia. Thank you for your message. Regarding your concern, please contact Postal Service Consumer Affairs Office at https://postalpro.usps.com/ppro-tools/consumer-affairs

    May 04, 2021
  • anon

    The Sandston P&DC is going to be the death of me. My prescription meds originate in New Jersey, travel through Raleigh, and arrive in Sandston in 2 days, typically... then, they sit for weeks and sometimes over a month!!! This causes me great great trouble and expense getting emergency prescriptions. I will continue reporting this to our incompetent VA representatives until things get better.

    Apr 28, 2021
  • anon

    The problem persists and I have trouble believing COVID is the reason. I have 2 packages looping between Richmond and Sanston for a month and those are only current ones. Most arrive late. I have 2 more in transit and expect the same problem. There is nothing wrong with the address and a customer service inquiry results in a “canned” response and recommendation to file a claim. I cringe when i see a package is being sent via USPS.

    Apr 25, 2021
  • anon

    Partisan Press, a non-profit literary publisher made a bulk mailing on Norfolk Virginia on 4-13-2021. Our USPS permit number is 89-PC. As of yet, none have been delivered in our area. Local delivery usually happens in 3 business days. I have no way of knowing if any are being processed or mailed. I know they are sent from Norfolk to the Richmond processing facility which has a less than admirable record of losing mail. I would very much appreciate any assistance in confirming that our mail is actually en rout and hasn't been mislaid or lost.

    Apr 20, 2021
  • anon

    I sent a priority package from New Kingstown, PA on March 22 to Williamsburg, VA. It has a wrong zip code on it. It has been looping in VA between the Richmond Distribution Center and local post offices there. I have called some of the local post offices trying to catch up to this package. You would think someone would look at the whole address after this long to see what might be wrong with the address. The Postmaster here has sent e-mails to try and correct this.

    Apr 16, 2021
  • anon

    I have had a package bounce between the Linden, New Jersey post office and y’all’s distribution center in Richmond like 5 different times idk why it’s keep going back in 4th but I need a customer service rep to give a call to discuss this issue

    Apr 15, 2021
  • anon

    Priority Mail packages that are very important to our business are repeatedly mishandled and misrouted at this Richmond location. Even this month's packaged, sent on 3/30/2021 from Afton VA (near Charlottesville) to Fredericksburg VA is already several days late. My colleague reports: The 2-day priority mail envelope I posted on 3/30 was redirected by the Richmond distribution center to Kansas City and then, as of yesterday, to Hyattsville. I am assuming from there it is on its way back to Richmond. No telling when you will get it. The Richmond facility seems to be totally dysfunctional and unfortunately all outgoing mail from my part of the state goes there first.

    Apr 05, 2021
  • anon

    My certified letter has been sitting in the Richmond , Ba distribution center for over 30 days

    Apr 01, 2021
  • anon

    Hello Bonnie. Thank you for your message. Regarding your concern, please contact Postal Service Consumer Affairs Office at https://postalpro.usps.com/ppro-tools/consumer-affairs

    May 04, 2021
  • anon

    I paid to have a package shipped from overseas to Richmond, Va on Jan 11, 2021 and it arrived to New Jersey on Jan 18, 2021. Then the package finally arrived to the USPS Sandston Distribution Center and now the package cannot be found. Since Jan 11th, I checked the tracking of this package daily but taking into consideration COVID impacts, holiday, etc, I remained patient. But it is now March 17 and I have filed a "Missing Package Search" & filed 2 Service Request to get the status of my package. Between my mom and I, we have been constantly trying to get answer from the Post Office, only to be given the run around or given information that we both could read from the tracking app. I asked to speak with a supervisor and rep never responded. She only insisted that I submit a "Search for Package" & "Submit Claim". But when I attempted to file a claim & get a refund back from the Clip N Ship label. It stated that I submitted the claim & refund 60 day after the mail date. But according to the Opening USPS page, its "Due to COVID impacts, the USPS has temporarily extended the claim submission from 60-90 days of the ship date. So I spent money to buy my family local goodies/gifts from overseas, paid for shipping label, trusted USPS to deliver the package with care, they can't find the package, and now I can't get a refund or submit a claim. This is totally unacceptable and there is a clear indication that coaching should be place ASAP on all level of the organization. From the reps on phone to the rep through email, their is no since of empathy at all, and it seems as though they are use to this type of mishap because there was not sense of resolutions for the customer, my concern did not raise a red flag, the issue was not escalated or looked into further. It was more so, just fill a claim, there is nothing that I could do for you. I am not even sure why the reps are even responding to inquires because they just state : according to the last scan in the tracking system had (which is the exact same info that I could read on the USPS Tracker. To this date, the Tracker note say "In Transit" but when the Post Master checked, I was told the package could not be located. So where is the package ? I can't get a resolutions, I can't get a refund, I can't get any helpful assistance, I can't get my package delivered. And USPS sent me a survey and asked if I felt Valued ? Hmm . This situation is unacceptable and I am not sure why this USPS Distribution center is still operating if they are repeatedly not getting the job done. There is more to this story but I tried to narrow it down because it is clear that I am not the only one dealing with this.

    Mar 16, 2021
  • anon

    today is March 15th 2021 the last 3 weeks this distribution center has rerouted two of my packages at different times back out to random cities states. one package shipping from Georgia hit this facility and then was rerouted to Indianapolis. second package came from Schenectady New York hit this facility and then was rerouted to connecticut. right now I have a package that was scanned at this facility on March 7th I put in help find my mail request and was answered by an employee who did not identify themselves.. and said the managers says theyre working on it. they also conveniently marked the case resolved.. which it clearly is not the package has not moved for another 3 days. and now there's no way to put in a second request since they've marked it resolved. sat I went to my Branch Post office.. I was told by the clerk that there's nothing they can do.

    Mar 14, 2021
  • anon

    Hi, My package has been sitting in the Richmond distribution centre since February 10th, over a month ago, and I have waited the max 30 day processing period indicated by the centre and your service. I am concerned that the package has been stolen, and while I am filing a complaint and service request, I just want my package to move on. There is no number to call to look into the whereabouts of my package, so please help me locate it and send it on.

    Mar 13, 2021
  • anon

    I have had a package at the Sandston plant for a month. 2 Service Requests went unanswered. Mail Search resulted in an email that said my package is late. Not very helpful. Is anyone at USPS accountable?

    Mar 05, 2021
  • anon

    Hello. Thank you for your message. Regarding your concern, please contact Postal Service Consumer Affairs Office at https://postalpro.usps.com/ppro-tools/consumer-affairs

    May 04, 2021
  • anon

    I mailed a package from Wilmington, NC to Richmond, VA on February 26th. I was assured the package would get there by the 3rd of March, but it hasn't moved or been scanned since the 28th. I opened a claim and haven't gotten a response other than the automated email. This is ridiculous. People shouldn't have to wait weeks for packages to leave one facility and run the risk of losing out on money among other things. I've decided after this if I have to send anything to VA I will pay a little extra and use FEDEX.

    Mar 05, 2021
  • anon

    I mailed a First Class Certified envelope from Suffolk VA on Feb. 19 2021 and it has not left the Richmond Distribution Center. Today is March 3. I filed a claim, was assigned a case number and for the standard electronically generated reply. And still have not been contacted by a person. Really?

    Mar 03, 2021
  • anon

    i purpously mailed my package in a priority box the last Monday in February. I was happy when I saw it said it had left the distribution center in Sandston and was in transit. Then 2 days later it said it was still in transit and would be arriving at it's destination (CA) late but was on it's way. I filed a complaint a couple days ago and today I received a call from the CA post office telling me my package was STILL IN SANDSTON!! what a crock. Someone needs to fire the Postmaster General he/she has made a mockery of the postal system. I'm hoping my aunt will get her package by next years birthday.

    Mar 03, 2021
  • anon

    Package shipped priority to Boulder, Colo. Received at Richmond sorting center 2/16. Tracking number shows it is still there 3/1. Very disappointed with service!

    Mar 01, 2021
  • anon

    I had a package sitting at this Sandston mail sorting facility for a couple of weeks in January. I kept getting a generated message when I tracked it that said" your package is at the Sandston Va facility but it will be delivered at some point". I reached out to Channel 6 Richmond news and they did a story about this. Yes I was on the evening news talking about the delay issues with this mail sorting facility. They never reached out to me after the interview but a lady that drops off there a couple of times of week reached out to me, spoke to a manager and got the package moving. This is unacceptable. I ordered some items from Bath & Body on 2/4/21 and I got a message stating that the package is at the Sandston Va mail sorting facility. When I actually spoke to the Sandston Va USPS they said a lot of employees are out with COVID 19. Who can we contact about this ?

    Feb 28, 2021
  • anon

    Every package of mine in transit gets to Richmond and sits still for 7-20 days. This has been the case for all of December, January and February. What gives? I opt for FedEx any chance I can because USPS is so unreliable, or rather they are reliably LATE. System obviously needs an overall. If it doesn’t travel through Richmond then USPS doesn’t disappoint but anything going there is significantly delayed over and over again.

    Feb 27, 2021
  • anon

    I mailed a large envelope certified, return receipt to Medicare Claims in Camden, SC on Mon, Feb15, 2021 from Midlothian, VA. It is still sitting in the Sandston, VA Distribution Center (30 miles away) today, Thurs, Feb 25, 2021. They cannot get a large envelope out of their door after 10 days to head to the next location. Most of the reviews are about packages just sitting at the Sandston, VA Distribution Center. They have got to be piling up. Whatever procedures that were implemented in Feb 2021 from the audit is not working. There are 3 days left in Feb. I think you need another audit to see why the packages are not getting out of this center.

    Feb 25, 2021
  • anon

    Your concern is exactly mine and tens of thousands of others. My package has been sitting in Sandston since February 10th, 2021. It has not moved since. I contacted USPS to open a case & one of their representatives gave me a generic, useless response while closing the case. And yet, my mail hasn't moved since. Funny how they close the case when they did not solve the problem. They need to get it together or face consequences for their horrible customer treatment.

    Feb 27, 2021
  • anon

    On January 1, 2021,I ordered a pair of vintage ice skates from a source in Mooresville, North Carolina to an address in Emporia Virginia area. Per the source they were shipped priority mail. Tracking shows: January 1-label created; January 4-acceptance Mooresville NC; January 5-Mid Carolina NC distribution; January 6-deposited distribution center; January 7-Hyattsville MD (seriously!). Went passed where I I live and all the way to Maryland! To come BACK on January 9-Richmond Distribution Ctr; January 10-departed Richmond Distribution; January 14-in transit Has been in transit since the 14th to go about 65 miles south of Richmond?! Contacted local post office Contacted USPS customer service Did a mail recovery search (I guess ! Via my smart phone) Computer illiterate so don’t know if it was done right or that it was sent!!! The USPS web site is not very user friendly Soooo, I called customer service to have a claims form sent February 16. What was I thinking?! Mailed?! As of February 24 I’ve not gotten this form and have until March 1 to do so! People I’ve talked with have been very nice and seems to have no better resources than I have! Sad. Seems they should have more accessibility to information than the general public within their business VINTAGE skates. You just can’t go to the department store and buy another pair!

    Feb 25, 2021
  • anon

    I have a Priority package that has been sitting at the Richmond distribution center since February 7th. It's now over two weeks that it has been sitting there. When will it finally leave that facility and be delivered????

    Feb 23, 2021
  • anon

    My package was dropped off at the Sandston facility by UPS on 2/11/21 at 8:48 pm, and we still haven't seen it. I can see from other comments that a lot of people are having the same problem. I hope someone is actually reading the comments and doing something about it!

    Feb 23, 2021
  • anon

    My package has been at the Richmond Distribution Center since February 11 at 12:48 pm. This is obviously a problem with this particular center. That clearly hasn't been handled appropriately. As an essential worker myself (that has worked the entire pandemic might I add), I understand COVID-19 is a problem but this is excessive and should not be used as an excuse for poor quality service. This is not any one person's fault but it is a systemic issue that needs to be addressed. At least let customers, go pick up their own packages, especially if USPS cannot be bother to deliver them. I see I am not the only one experiencing these issues. It definitely makes customers like myself despise packages being sent via USPS. The organization needs to think about issues like this when they call for the public to "SAVE USPS", because in its current condition we may be better off without.

    Feb 23, 2021
  • anon

    I finally received my package today. I had to complete a Help Request Form. Someone reached out to me after about 3 business days. The response was very generic. Basically, they are still understaffed due to COVID 19. I kept submitting Help Request Forms and communicating with the person that replied to my email. The next day it magically started moving again. I still believe that issues at the particular center have yet to be addressed and handled appropriately. Hopefully, if there is enough outrage things will change.

    Feb 25, 2021
  • anon

    My package have been at the Sandston distribution center why is it not being sent out? It has been there a week now? please get my package moving for delivery!

    Feb 21, 2021
  • anon

    Have a package that was dropped off to the Sandston distribution center on Feb.12, by UPS. It has not moved since. Have asked for updates, but have not received any. What is the problem with this distribution center? You would think with all the complaints someone would be checking into this. Perhaps the governor or somebody.

    Feb 20, 2021
  • anon

    Where do I begin? I have no fewer than 7 packages sitting in the Sandston facility. Several of my packages now say processing exception. We aren’t allowed to go there and pick up our packages. I am beyond frustrated. Get my packages to me ASAP. Two months is beyond ridiculous to wait. Do better USPS. Please contact me to let me know you have actually read this.

    Feb 18, 2021
  • anon

    One would think a PRIORITY PACKAGE would be a PRIORITY. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THIS OPTION. My package once again is supposedly sitting at The USPS DISTRIBUTION CENTER IN SANDSTON,VA. No scans has been made. I could have driven this package to its location faster than this which is 2,000 miles away. STOP BLAMING THE PANADEMIC OR THE WEATHER YALL ARE THE UNITED STATES POST OFFICE, quess what this is your JOB

    Feb 18, 2021
  • anon

    My package have been at the Sandston distribution center since the 23rd of January. On the 25th it said processed through but nothing, then on February 10th it said processed through Sandston. It’s been supposedly in transit since but in reality it’s still sitting at Sandston. I really need for this package to leave Sandston and arrive at it’s next destination. This is my livelihood we talking here. I can’t afford to lose money from the loss of this package. I am so disheartened with this. It’s been nearly a month! Package is only going 4 hours away!

    Feb 18, 2021
  • anon

    My packages have been sitting in Sandston, VAfor 7 days straight. No update, no scans, no nothing. I never heard back after opening a missing package complaint. I live in Richmond, VA so it shouldn’t be taking that long to get from the distribution hub to the local post office l. I suspect heavy mail theft is going on. Many family members have had packages just disappear. Further, there are videos online of postal workers sifting through packages to find ones that might be valuable just to steal them and claim they got lost. I am one angry customer and will no longer support USPS. FedEx and UPS can handle my business. They’ve kept up with the heavy influx of packages. In metro Richmond, for UPS we delivered over 32,000 in one day!! USPS can’t do that in a week apparently. Get it together and deliver our packages.

    Feb 17, 2021
  • anon

    An item was delayed in Philadelphia since 12/31/20, left Philly on 12/9-10th and then processed 3-4 times at this facility and still not moved to the recipient. The recipient lives 70 miles away North on I-95. Needs to get to Fredricksburg facility to get to her soon.

    Feb 16, 2021
  • anon

    I have two packages stuck at the Sandston distribution facility. The status is in transit to next facility since Jan 21 and the other Feb 9. What can be done about these packages not been moved?

    Feb 16, 2021
  • anon

    Thank you for this report. Since mid-September, I've been receiving weekly 1st class letters from Florida that go through the Sandston facility destined for Middlesex county. I've heard that the 1st class service standard is supposed to provide 4-day delivery nationally. 71% of the letters were delivered late by this standard, the longest took 24 days and I still haven't received one mailed on 29 January, so the issues are ongoing. I've tracked packages through Sandston and I've seen them stuck there for 2 to 3 days. I have a TV Guide subscription that continues to be missing or late. The last one was 10 days late. This audit investigated the late trip causes and focused on forecasting issues. Is that really the only root cause? Were processing delays due to removal of sorting equipment, availability of enough properly maintained equipment or adequate staffing? Richmond TV news stations reported on the massive backlogs. It seems that the report would have mentioned this as contributing to returning to "normal" operations and make recommendations to clear the backlog. Is the postmaster general blocking overtime or hiring to support truly fixing the issue? Public transparency on service statistics would be welcomed.

    Feb 13, 2021
  • anon

    I have had MULTIPLE packages basically stuck here for over two weeks. This is extremely unprofessional and uncalled for. Yes, COVID has had an impact but UPS & FedEx are NOT having these problems. I would much rather have my items avoid this facility at all costs.

    Feb 08, 2021

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