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New cargo regs could hold up Christmas shipping

Jessica Klinkenberg
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Nov 29/06) - Last minute shippers of Christmas presents may be kicking themselves come December.

According to new Department of Transportation regulations, First Air and Canadian North will have to inspect all parcels being sent out by unknown people, as well as all same day flight shipments.
NNSL Photo/graphic

Canada Post office workers Dale Bouchard, left, and Tanya Hicks take a moment from serving customers and sorting mail to pose next to some of the incoming boxes. This is their busiest season of the year, they said. - by Jessica Klinkenberg/NNSL photo

"If you don't want it unwrapped it's held for 24 hours," First Air cargo manager Troy Broman said.

Broman recommends people not wrap up their presents and parcels, since they'll have to unwrap them for inspection.

He said people should be prepared to present current picture identification of themselves, and be prepared for wait times as well.

"In the last two years people have figured out to start shipping in the first week of December. The last two weeks are chaotic," said Broman.

It's just as busy at the post office. Canada Post clerk Dale Bouchard said that winter has always been the mail carrier's busiest season.

Bouchard reminds people that being prepared is the key to a painless shipping experience.

"We have so many people who come here that are unprepared," she said, explaining that some customers have shown up with shopping bags, and nothing else.

"(Make sure) the parcels are boxed, taped, wrapped and addressed," she advised.

She said people are welcome to come in and grab the supplies, do it right there and pay for the boxes and tape when they ship the parcel.

"Get your parcels prepared to alleviate the lengthy wait," said Bouchard.

She also reminds people that though the post office is open until 5 p.m., their weekday cutoff for shipping out is 2:30 p.m.

But Christmas isn't just the time for giving, it's the time for receiving. Bouchard said that sometimes people don't check their parcel pick-up slip. The Franklin Avenue location only receives parcels for people with mail boxes in the building.

The other location for pick-up is the postal outlet in Shopper's Drug Mart.

"Also make sure that your mail forwarding doesn't expire before Christmas," she cautioned.

Bouchard speaks from experience.

"I've moved and had to change it three times," she said of the mail forwarding system.

Yellowknifers shipping to friends and family in the United States should expect to fill out a customs form.

"If it's not filled out properly, it's returned to you," she warned.

Though the Christmas season can be a stressful one, Bouchard did say that they do receive cookies and coffees from customers.

"It's always appreciated," she said.