HODGKINS, Ill. (WLS) -- Tis the season, not just for holiday shopping, but for holiday shipping, as package carriers like UPS gear up for a return to a traditional holiday gift giving season.
The UPS facility in Hodgkins is the largest tractor-trailer facility I the company's network.
Affectionately called "The CACH," which stands for Chicago Area Consolidation Hub, it's expected to process some 3.2 million packages a day.
Plans to handle the surge began back in January. The southwest suburban plant is UPS's largest ground sorting facility in the country at around 2 million square feet.
The location's 8,000 employees usually see around two million packages a day, but will see that number grow with the Christmas shopping season.
"Packages come in here on a trailer," UPS HR director Rommel Carlson said. "We unload the trailer. One person in the trailer unloads, touches the package and in 15 minutes, that package is being loaded into a destination trailer. So it takes a package about 15 minutes unload to load, with only two handles. We call this an automated facility. Because of that, less handles, quicker from getting to point A to point B and also with better service."
The National Retail Federation predicts holiday spending could reach as high as $960 billion between November and December.
UPS' advice: shop early and ship early.