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Parcels pick up: Bemidji Post Office sees increased workload as city grows

Tim Conger, mail processing clerk, sorts through mail on Thursday afternoon at the Bemidji Post Office. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)

BEMIDJI—The 2016 holiday season was one of the busiest for the U.S. Postal Service, both nationally and locally.

According to Acting Bemidji Post Master Dave Krage, the main reason for the surge has been the aspect of package delivery.

"The parcel flow has changed. The last five years our parcel delivery has increased by double digits. This year we even delivered on Sundays during the Christmas season," Krage said. "The parcel volume increase has been year-round for us. We do the final delivery for UPS and FedEx, too. With more and more people shopping online, our parcel business is consistently higher."

The situation is similar at the federal level, as the Postal Service announced in a press release that Dec. 19 was the busiest mailing day of 2016 with 12 million customers visiting offices. In the 2016 fiscal year, the service's website generated more than $1 billion in sales from more than 54 million transactions.

The release states that an estimated 750 million packages were to be delivered in the holiday season, a 12 percent increase compared to last year. In total, the service estimated 16 billion cards, letters and packages were delivered.

In Bemidji, along with the increase in parcel deliveries, Krage said the post office is getting busier because of the city's growth.

"For us, it means we're sort of bursting at the seams," Krage said. "I can't see another office being opened, but rather, we're just going to expand our routes as needed and do the best we can."

In addition to expanded routes, Krage said the residents of Bemidji can help the post office when they first move to town to ensure addresses are up to date.

"It's the most important thing for people to do, to get added to the database system," Krage said. "Let us know that they're moving in, a lot of people don't realize how important that is. Growth management is becoming part of our job here in Bemidji."

For its operations, the local Post Office employs between 62-65 employees, but Krage said the number tends to fluctuate.

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

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