PORTLAND (AP) — Last holiday season was not the most memorable for the U.S. The Postal Service: A flood of packages, sick and quarantined workers and shoppers who were reluctant to go into stores. There was also an overwhelming private shipper rush.

As they prepare for the next pandemic, postal workers who have to recall letters and packages left in distribution hubs will be better prepared. Low product inventories and disruptions in the supply chain are creating uncertainty around delivery of gifts.

Already, holiday packages are on the rise among workers. This trend began weeks ago.

“A lot of workers are saying, “Oh no. Scott Adams, the local president of American Postal Workers Union Portland, said, “Here we go again.”

The U.S. The U.S. Postal Service and private shipping companies UPS and FedEx are increasing their workforce — about 230,000 temporary workers have been hired — and taking other steps so they don’t get overwhelmed by package delivery.

Nearly 3.4 Billion parcels will be crisscrossing the country this holiday season. This is an increase of approximately 400 million, according to Satish Jindel from ShipMatrix in Pennsylvania, which analyzes shipping data.

The U.S. will include letters and cards with every order. The Postal Service stated that it will deliver more than 12 million items.

“The pandemic remains. Mark Dimondstein, president and CEO of the American Postal Workers Union (which represents more than 200 000 postal workers), stated that the supply chain is a problem that will impact how people shop and how products are moved.

Jindel stated that despite the precarious state, FedEx, UPS, and the Postal Service are better equipped to handle peak volumes and that there are several trends that could work in their favor.

Jindel stated that more people shop in stores than last year and that people place online orders sooner because they are aware of supply chain issues. Jindel also said that there is less office supply shipments to homes because workers are returning to work.

He said that the most important thing is that shippers are now adapting to their experience last year.

Louis DeJoy (U.S. Postmaster General), who was subject to harsh criticism last year, but reported on-time improvements, reduced operating losses, and said that the service is now ready for the crunch.

He said, “We are available. Send us your mail and packages.”

One year ago, over a third of first-class mail from the Postal Service was late when Christmas arrived.

Mail-laden tractor-trailers were left outside postal-sorting facilities. There were many packages and letters that had been piled up at distribution hubs. In many cases, delays grew to days and even weeks.

Two things were very obvious. Both more workers and more space are needed. Both of these issues are being addressed.

The Postal Service is transferring more than 30,000 non-career workers to the ranks of career staff by peak season. It also hires 40,000 seasonal employees and leases extra space at over 100 locations to make sure there’s enough room for parcels.

As part of a $40 billion investment over 10 years, the Postal Service has installed more than 100 new sorting machines. More than 50 large package sorting systems are also expected to be installed before December. Officials stated that these systems combined increase capacity by 4.5 million additional packages per day.

UPS is also hiring more than 100,000 seasonal workers across the country. It continues to increase its aircraft and automation. UPS expects that 90% of its packages will be processed by automated facilities by the end of the year.

FedEx is currently working to increase its national workforce by 90,000. This includes all its operating companies. According to FedEx, most of these new workers will stay after the holidays.

Shippers are unanimous in their belief that shoppers should not procrastinate despite all the extra workers.

Jim Mayer, spokesperson at UPS, stated that “Complete your holiday shopping quickly.”