Shippers prepare for another pandemic crush of holiday gifts

  • A postal carrier loads boxes into his delivery vehicle on Nov. 8 in Portland, Maine. With memories of last year's pandemic-related holiday crush, postal workers in distribution hubs are gearing up for another busy season. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

  • A worker carries a large parcel at the United States Postal Service sorting and processing facility, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, in Boston. Last year's holiday season was far from the most wonderful time of the year for the beleaguered U.S. Postal Service. Shippers are now gearing up for another holiday crush.(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

PORTLAND, Maine — The last holiday season was far from the most wonderful time of the year for the U.S. Postal Service: Sick and quarantined workers, a flood of packages from shoppers loath to set foot in stores and a last-minute dump of packages from overwhelmed private shippers.