USPS South Houston Processing Center in Missouri City upgrades sorting equipment and processing technology

MISSOURI CITY – A months long mail headache for Houstonians could soon be cured.

“I’m really cautiously optimistic but still I’m just wondering why it would take so long to get this together,” Irene Ramirez said.

On Thursday, KPRC2′s Re’Chelle Turner and photojournalist Oscar Chavez got an up-close look at the new equipment and technology at the Local Processing Center in Missouri City.

The United States Postal Service is making improvements to help you get your mail on time.

Officials with the United States postal service acknowledged that they had issues earlier this year with new processing technology. They have five state-of-the-art package sorting machines at the center.

The VP of Regional Processing Operation John DiPeri explained some of the news upgrades at the 400,000 square foot facility.

“These package sorting machines do between 4,000 and 7,000 packages an hour, and they handle about 90% of the size packages. In this building, since January, we’ve hired about 125 people,” DiPeri said.

He also mentioned that “These package sorting machines do between 4,000 and 7,000 packages an hour, and they handle about 90% of the size packages. In this building, since January, we’ve hired about 125 people since January we brought into this building.”

Turner asked DiPeri why it took so long to upgrade the equipment.

“When we move a machine or we bring a machine in, it’s not something we just, hey, move it in and plug it in. We have very highly sophisticated contractors, electricians, that bring the machine in. They have very sensitive electronics. They set the electronics up, they set the machine up, and they start the machine, they test it, they get it running. And it takes weeks to test it, to get it to run at a high speed and sort properly,” he said.

Are there any plans to try to upgrade the facility in North Houston?

“The facility in North Houston is tremendous. We’re installing four high-output package sorters. They have two, they call them HOTs. They have two in right now. They’re testing the first one, actually sorting about 50,000 pieces of mail,” DiPeri said.

Before the tour, Turner and photojournalist Oscar Chavez will interview Irene Ramirez. Back in January, she spoke at a press conference with Congressman Al Green about her 89-year-old father, Daniel Ramirez, waiting weeks for his heart medication

Ramirez told Turner that the new upgrades are needed but she still doesn’t have confidence that the Postal Service can get back on track.

“My confidence is like this…but I’m hoping to be proven wrong,” she told Turner.

Well, what is it going to take for the Postal Service to gain your trust again?

I wanted to go back to how it was before. I want the USPS to be a service for the community,” she said.

How do you all regain that trust for so many post office customers who kind of feel like you ‘all left them alone?

“I apologize for that poor service that we had in the beginning of the year. You know, our jobs are to collect, process, and deliver the mail. We take that really seriously. So, we have brought the right people, the right leaders, the right leadership, the right employees, brought 125 more employees down here to this building to assure, as we’re going through this modernization, we’ll maintain the service and efficiency,” he said.

DiPeri said they will be transparent through the next phase and hope to have this facility at about 95% by August.

Before the tour USPS officials gave a small presentation about the Delivering for America Plan.

John DiPeri, Vice President Regional Processing

Larry Wagner, Senior Division Director, Southwest Division

James Gibson, Plant Manager, LPC

Delivering for America Plan:

  1. Over 230 processing and distribution centers
  2. 21 national distribution centers
  3. Over 80 annexed
  4. 13 surface transit centers (ground freight)
  5. Over 70 terminal handling services (air freight)
  6. Modernizing of the facilities
  7. Looking at improved on time reliable delivery.
  8. One facility dedicated to Houston’s city volumes
  9. Outgoing operation in one facility instead of consolidating from three.
  10. Point to point transportation with decreased travel time.
  11. Packages will be processed more efficiently on state-of-the-art equipment.
  12. It also includes employee benefits
  13. Transportation utilization will see a marked increase in utilization (~35% currently)

For months, KPRC 2 has been telling you countless stories about the United States Postal Service problems across the Houston area.

Since December, KPRC 2′s Re’Chelle Turner, Corley Peel, Amy Davis and Rilwan Balogun have spoken to families who had to wait weeks, and in some cases months, for gifts, packages, and medication.

Turner mailed care packages to KPRC 2′s sister stations WDIV in Detroit and KSAT in San Antonio showing people in real time where the packages were. Our package to San Antonio arrived 5 days late, and the Detroit mail arrived 6 days late.

USPS said the reason for the delays is that the postal service is in the process of modernizing its mail system.

If you or someone you know is still having problems with the post office or you never received an important package, email Turner at

About the Authors

Emmy award-winning journalist born and raised in Alabama. College football fanatic and snow cone lover! Passionate about connecting with the community to find stories that matter.

A creative force with a lifelong passion for the arts. Exploring the realms of acting, singing, and film at an early age. With nearly 100 original songs, he is a BMI-published author, his music resonates on all major platforms, international video, films and Netflix.

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