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 (78)

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  • 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
  • anon

    I've had a package at the Sandston DC since January 14th. I can't get through to anyone for help.

    Feb 08, 2021
  • anon

    I have a registered letter that left the Great Bridge post office January 28th at 6:39pm. It has not moved since, this is due to me by the first of February, here it is 10 days later, nothing. There is no reason for the delay. I have tried to track this down, I was told by the local post office it hasn’t left the processing center after Great Bridge.

    Feb 08, 2021
  • anon

    Honestly the fact that I have a package that’s been sitting there since January 29th is ridiculous. Then when you guys do deliver my mail you are putting it in the wrong box. My neighbors constantly bring me my mail and packages. The service is getting worse. You guys need to figure it out because the way that you’re handling mail is outrageous. Just think, would you be okay if your mail was being held for days unnecessarily?! Do better

    Feb 03, 2021
  • anon

    Yes and I have one that has been there since Jan 26 2021. It’s ridiculous.

    Feb 08, 2021
  • anon

    Shipped a package from Sealston VA and it arrived at the Richmond processing center 3 WEEKS later, a trip of less than 50 miles. Tracking (thank God I kept that receipt) says it left the PO at Sealston the day I shipped it and then nothing for 3 weeks. I could have walked it there quicker. Of course nobody takes ownership and no one has a credible explanation other than COVID, why mail and packages are being HELD and STORED somewhere for large amounts of time. UPS and FEDEX seem to be moving stuff without a problem. Also I'm tracking items that get close to the place of delivery i.e Spotsylvania for a final delivery to King George VA and then they get rescanned and are in Greensboro NC, so when you run out of space to store stuff you put it back on the carousel and reroute it to make space.

    Feb 03, 2021
  • anon

    I've placed orders for products in mid-January which show arriving in Sandston around the 22nd of January. It's now Feb 2 and they still have not moved. One is medication that I need for my dog. Odd that I can get Amazon packages from USPS in just a couple days with no trouble. If this were any other business this kind of service would not be tolerated.

    Feb 02, 2021
  • anon

    every single package i have ordered from january 1st until now has been held multiple days up to a week at the richmond distribution center. it is 2/1 and i still have packages waiting in the distribution center. things just stay there and rot in a void or something. start up again with overtime and get these packages back on track or hire more help to get things done in time. these delays are absolutely ridiculous and uncalled for.

    Feb 01, 2021
  • anon

    I had a purchase sent to me priority mail. Accepted in Lancaster Pa 1/21. Traveled from PA to Sandston, arrived the afternoon of 1/22. It has not moved since arriving Sandston. Today is 2/1. The app does not even give me the " your package is delayed, but still in transit" update anymore.

    Feb 01, 2021
  • anon

    I am having a terrible time receiving my mail from the Sandston ( Richmond,va) distribution center I just received a TV guide 6 weeks late.. I have magazines due 5-6 weeks ago that I am not getting. Some of the mail that I am looking for that has tracking is being received by this facility and then being sent to other states and then being returned to them. I have some mail that arrived there a week ago and still sit there. What is going on with this facility.. I would like to know. In my 68 years I have never experienced the problems I am having today Thanks

    Jan 24, 2021
  • anon

    I have been visiting my best friend in Virginia and having my medication sent to me from my home in NJ for the last 14+ years and I have NEVER had any problems with getting a package in two to three days. I am on my way home tomorrow and still DO NOT have my medicine. This is ridiculous!! If you need more people then hire them!! Get your act together because NO ONE should have to go without their medication for weeks on end!!!!

    Jan 23, 2021
  • anon

    What is going on there? We don’t receive packaged for weeks after tracking shows processed in Sandstone. We don’t receive credit card bills in December and January and if we do , we get it the day it’s due. Someone said there are still a parking lot full of tractor trailer loads of mail. The truck from Richmond did not even show up 3 business days in Dec. Get them some temporary help to get back on track. This is getting very serious.

    Jan 19, 2021
  • anon

    Mail since December has been horribly slow, some packages not being delivered at all and worse yet, claim they have been delivered. This is for outgoing and incoming. I mailed bill with check Jan. 1 to arrive before Jan. 12. As of Jan. 16 it had not been delivered and I might have to pay late fees! I have never paid late fees! What is going on?

    Jan 18, 2021

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