The United States Postal Service (USPS) is the core of a vast network of delivering letters and packages. On a daily basis, they are delivering mail pieces to millions of people across the country.
There are several different sectors within the system, including mail carriers, mail trucks, post offices, sorting facilities, fulfillment centers, and network distribution centers. Additionally, they offer online resources for customers to check on the status of their packages on the USPS website or app.
When checking on the ETA of your package, one common phrase you may have seen is “arrived at hub”. In this article, we will discuss what arrived at hub means, when you can expect your package, and other insightful tips for understanding USPS shipping practices.
As you patiently wait for your USPS package to arrive, you can sign up for status updates to track your delivery status along the way. Typically you will automatically receive tracking updates from the merchant you purchased from.
However, you can take your tracking a step further by signing up via email or text for updates directly from USPS. You can choose to receive any or all of the following updates via text and/or email:
- Expected delivery updates
- Package in transit updates
- Day of delivery updates
- Package delivered
- Package available for pickup
- Delivery exception updates
Additionally, you can sign up for a USPS account to make your access to these options easier. You can also add delivery instructions, like completing a signature card to allow deliveries that require a signature to be delivered even if you are not home.
So, the next time you’re expecting a package, you can sign up for alerts to avoid continually finding your tracking number and constantly checking back in on it.
What Is A Hub?
A USPS hub is a central place where mail is sorted, processed, and distributed. Hubs are where all mail and packages are then dispersed more regionally and locally.
Therefore, packages go from hubs to smaller, local distribution centers. Hubs are necessary gatekeepers to sort packages and route them in the right direction in a controlled, systematic manner.
Parcels will be sorted into their correct bin according to zip code. To avoid mix-ups, USPS avoids putting bins with similar zip codes adjacent to each other for ease of the sorting process.
Although ambiguous, getting the notification that your package has arrived at the hub is a promising sign. That means your package is moving through the mail system appropriately and is getting closer to home. Luckily it is not an update informing you that your package was missent!
So, what’s next?
Where Does My Package Go Next?
Once your tracking information states “arrived at hub”, the hope is that it will process through the facility quickly. However, at times, the package can stay stagnant at the hub for an extended time.
Sorting time depends on the type of mail service selected, the size of the sorting facility, amount of packages to be processed, and staffing.
After the package is sorted, it will be sent on a mail truck to the next facility- or even straight to your house! Even if it is routed to another facility, this means your package is getting closer to the delivery address.
When Will My Package Be Delivered?
Determining when your package will be delivered depends on the mail service that is selected, how far the package has to travel, and what day of the week or season it is.
The sorting and delivery of packages can be delayed by weekends, as mail services are typically halted on Sundays (with the exception of some one-off package delivery).
Similarly, packages can be delayed due to national holidays. USPS observes the following holidays:
- New Year’s Day
- Martin Luther King Jr. birthday
- Presidents’ Day
- Memorial Day
- Juneteenth National Independence Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Columbus Day
- Veterans Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
Aside from the holidays themselves, there is an additional caveat to be aware of. If the national holiday falls on a Sunday, then that holiday will be observed on the next day, Monday. So, in that case, no mail services can be expected on Sunday or Monday.
But during normal business days, the fastest USPS shipping service is Priority Mail Express, where you can expect your package the next day or up to 2 days from shipment.
If the package is coming via Priority Mail, it can be expected in 1-3 days from shipment time. The next tier is USPS Retail Ground, which will deliver in 2-5 days. USPS First Class Package Service also advertises a 2-5 day shipping time to the final destination.
If you ordered a book or other piece of media, it typically takes a little longer. This is likely due to Media Mail being a generally inexpensive shipping option. You can expect your media to be delivered in 2-8 days.
Outside of serving the needs of the United States shipping market, USPS also has international options. For your international shipping endeavors, make sure to price compare between all package delivery companies.
Free Shipping Supplies
While we’re on the topic, did you know that you can get FREE shipping supplies from USPS delivered straight to your door? If you are sending a package via Priority Mail Express or Priority Mail, you can get free boxes, bubble mailers, and envelopes.
USPS offers a wide variety of box and envelope sizes to fit your shipping needs. All you have to do is navigate to the USPS website, find the box(es) that you need, add them to your cart, and enter your address in the checkout portion.
From here, you can expect the items to be delivered to your door during regular mail delivery. Delivery times vary and depend on location and availability of supplies, so reference the specific timeline you were given following checkout.
Troubleshooting And Customer Service
If your parcel shows “arrived at hub” with no progression of the tracking for several days, it may be time to contact customer service at your local post office. In rare cases, your package may have been missed or overlooked in the sorting process for some reason.
Alternatively, your shipping label may not have been scanned appropriately and the tracking may not be updated on your end. The package could still be moving in the right direction.
That is why, at times, it seems like there is radio silence until your package moves across the country overnight. In that case, the tracking has just finally caught up, so now you’re able to see all of the progress it has made.
Other USPS Tracking Meanings
Label Created, Not Yet In System
This means the eCommerce merchant or other seller has paid for and created a label, however, the item is still in the merchant's position. The tracking will not be updated until the item is dropped off at a USPS facility and scanned by a postal worker.
USPS In Possession of Item
This update is letting the recipient know that the package is now in the hands of USPS. The item has been scanned but has a ways to go through sorting and being sent off to its next facility.
Departed USPS Facility
After the parcel is processed and sorted at one facility, the tracking will let you know when it has left the facility with a date and timestamp.
In Transit To Next Facility
Now the package is moving onto its next facility en route to its final delivery destination.
Arrived At USPS Facility
Once the item has safely arrived at a new, closer facility, the tracking will be updated. Typically the city and state are listed here.
This is the dreaded message that nobody wants to receive. There are many possible reasons why your package may be running late, including being routed in the wrong direction, lack of speed processing items at a USPS facility, weather, and more.
Although self-explanatory, the delivery message is the best one yet. Your package has finally arrived, and I hope it's a good one!
In summary, the arrived at hub USPS meaning is one that keeps the receiver informed. It means the package is at a regional facility and is being further scanned and sorted before heading off to the destination address.
Now that you've expanded your USPS vocabulary, happy online shopping!