Arrived At Hub USPS

What does “arrived at hub: mean for your USPS package? Read more below.

We often get confusing and obtuse messages from delivery companies, and these can be very frustrating, especially on days when you’re expecting something exciting or important in the mail. If you’ve ever had “Arrived at hub” from USPS, you might be wondering what it means, so we’re going to explore that today.


“Arrived at hub” is unfortunately not a sign that your package should be dropped in your mailbox in the next half hour or so. Instead, it means that it has reached one of their hubs, and it will be sorted. It may then be changed to “out for delivery,” or it could stay in hub limbo for several days while they sort.


usps trucks outside a building


What Does Arrived At Hub Mean?


So, you’re tracking your parcel and the website says “arrived at hub,” but this isn’t a very helpful update as it doesn’t give you any indication of where your parcel is or how soon you should expect it. This is annoying if you need to know whether to wait in or not.


“Arrived at hub” means that your parcel has reached one of USPS’s distribution points. Here, they sort large amounts of mail, and with any luck, your parcel will soon be on its way to you.


This message is to reassure you that the parcel is still moving and update you on how far it has traveled. Your package will be sitting on a delivery pallet somewhere, and it hasn’t yet been put in the correct place for the next stage of its journey.


While at the hub, packages will be sorted out and sent to recipients via more local carriers, so this is the point at which your parcel should be reaching one of the last stages of its journey. The next person who handles it will, in most cases, be your local delivery driver, who should bring it up to your mailbox and drop it off with you!


The hub network helps mail get streamed to the right places, and cuts costs for the Postal Service and those sending the mail. However, it can be a bit frustrating looking at that message and not knowing if or when your parcel is going to come off a pallet and get put in the correct place!


clock melting


How Long Will My Parcel Stay At A Hub?


In theory, your parcel should not be at the sorting hub for long, although the amount of time may depend on how high priority your parcel’s shipping is. However, there are some horror stories in which people find that their mail sits in the hub for long periods of time without being sorted.


This means that the “arrived at hub” message will sit on your tracking information day after day, which can be extremely frustrating for anyone, but particularly if the parcel is important. If this happens, it is advised that you contact USPS to find out what’s going on, as your parcel may have been missed during sorting.


If your parcel is a priority package or coming from a big retailer like Amazon, which offers speedy shipping, you should expect to see the information update within a day or two, possibly changing to “out for delivery” or something similar.


However, if you have a non-priority parcel, it could take a few days for the workers to get to it and get it on its way to you. Don’t worry too much if it isn’t immediately updating and seems to be taking time; it will hopefully be passed to your local driver before too much longer.


Speed will also depend on whether your particular local hub has any backlog, or whether they are working as normal. Expect more delays during holidays, as this is when more people are likely to be sending mail and companies struggle to keep up.


priority mail in a mailbox


Where Will My Parcel Go Next?


Your parcel should go to a local delivery driver when it has finished at the USPS hub. If all goes smoothly, it will be dropped at the hub with a massive amount of other mail, and then it will be sorted by employees at the hub.


These employees will be putting mail into piles according to the most specific parts of the address; it should already be in the right state and area by now, so this is about honing in on the mail’s address. Hopefully, once the mail has been sorted, it will be passed to a driver, who will be bringing it to your house next.


So, this is not quite the last stage of the parcel’s journey, but it is getting close to it!


How Soon Can I Expect My Parcel?


The good news is that because your mail is nearing the end of its journey, it shouldn’t be too much longer. Although mail can get held up in the hub for days, it has at least got close to your location. It is no longer in a distant state, or possibly even being flown across the ocean to reach you.


With any luck, given its proximity, you will have your item before long. However, exactly how long will depend on the shipping options that you have chosen, the backlog at the area, and the number of workers available to direct mail to the right places.


usps tracking


What Should I Do If My Parcel’s Status Doesn’t Change?


Occasionally, parcels may get stuck at the “arrived at hub” stage, and you might find that no matter how patiently you wait, it does not update. This is extremely frustrating, especially when your mail is tantalizingly close and you just can’t get it.


Unfortunately, this does happen sometimes, and you shouldn’t panic too much about it. There are two possible explanations.


The first is that your package has fallen behind something or got left at the bottom of a big pile of mail and is simply not getting touched because of a backlog and overwhelmed workers. You will eventually get it, but you may wish to contact USPS to try and speed things along and make sure the package is not lost.


However, there’s another possible explanation. Often, the shipping information that appears on your computer or phone is inaccurate and doesn’t actually reflect where your parcel is. If someone forgets to scan a parcel or it doesn’t update properly when they move it to the next stage, your computer will still show “arrived at hub.”


This means you could actually get a delivery even when your tracking information displays the same “arrived at hub” message. Although the parcel has been sorted and shipped out, something has prevented the information from getting updated, and thus it’s inaccurate.


This is quite a common experience and can be annoying. You do end up with your parcel, at least! However, if in doubt, it’s best to call USPS customer services and ask, because if the sorting information is up to date, you’ll want to know about it in order to fix the problem as soon as possible.


Equally, if the sorting information is not updating properly, you need to know so that you can wait at home for your parcel.


Don’t just ignore a persistent “arrived at hub” message on the basis that it might be inaccurate. If your parcel seems to be stuck somewhere, do something about it. This will ensure you get your parcel, rather than seeing it get lost into the myriad of misplaced packages or being out when delivery is attempted.


tracking notifications on usps dashboard


What Other Messages And Status Information Might I See?


You might be wondering what other things are likely to appear in your tracking information, and what those mean. There are quite a few messages that USPS might show. Some are self-explanatory, while others are a little harder to decipher.




This somewhat confusing message simply means that USPS has your parcel, either dropped off by a customer or picked up by one of their couriers. It is now in their system, but this is the earliest stage of transport.


You shouldn’t expect your parcel too soon after this stage, unless you have opted for priority shipping.


Processed Through Sort Facility


Sadly, although this one sounds more hopeful, it only means that the parcel has reached its second stage. A Postal Service facility has processed and passed the package into the main system, and it is about to be underway.


Departed From The USPS Facility


This is also quite confusing, because which USPS facility it’s referring to is totally unclear. It is meant to tell you that the package is now moving and getting closer to you, but it does not offer much information beyond the basics.


In Transit


A particularly vague message, “in transit” simply means that the parcel is traveling. However, this is at least accompanied by a message that lets you know how the parcel is doing against the expected delivery.


It should either say “arriving on time” or “arriving late” alongside the in transit message. Hopefully, you will see the former, but at least if you see the latter, you will know that you’re going to be waiting longer for your package than you might otherwise have expected.


“In transit” still requires the parcel to be scanned, so it’s only going to happen when it reaches certain spots. This may mean that a parcel is arriving at a sorting facility, being processed through one, or leaving the facility. These are the most common scan points.


Often, “in transit” is the message you will see for most of the time when you check the tracking information. It just lets you know the parcel is moving, but doesn’t offer any details about how far it has got or how soon you might expect it to get to you (besides the on time/late prediction).


If your parcel is coming from some distance away, you might see “in transit” for a long time as the parcel travels from place to place, passes through sorting facilities, gets funneled to different distributors, and slowly makes its way to you.


If your parcel is coming from somewhere local, you will probably find that the in transit time period is short and your parcel soon moves to the “arrived at hub,” which is usually the next message.


Out For Delivery


After the “arrived at hub” stage, your parcel will be given to a delivery driver, and then it is finally out for delivery. This indicates it is on a truck coming to you, and usually, you’ll be getting it that day.


However, it may still be a few hours; drivers can have hundreds of parcels in their vehicles, and how soon yours will reach you depends on the number of parcels, the traffic, and the driver’s route.


There’s no point in checking your tracking information after this, unless the parcel doesn’t show up. The next step should be “delivered,” and if you’re seeing this, you’ve presumably got the parcel! However, if you’re seeing “delivered” and you haven’t got it, don’t immediately panic.


Some drivers mark their routes as delivered before starting. They shouldn’t do this, but it might explain why your parcel says it’s with you when it isn’t yet. It’s worth waiting until the end of the day to see if the parcel turns up.


If it doesn’t, check with neighbors in case the parcel has been delivered elsewhere, and then get in touch with USPS so that they can find out what’s going on for you.


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Summary & A Virtual Mailbox Alternative


Waiting for a delivery can be an extremely frustrating experience, especially if you work or you are often out of your home for long periods so you can’t just hang around, waiting for your parcel. Tracking has gone some way toward solving this, but it leaves much to be desired, and it is not yet a reasonable solution for many people.


If you’re having problems, you might want to consider a virtual mailbox, provided by someone like US Global Mail. This provides you with a virtual address that your mail can be delivered to, as well as a physical address.


All mail you receive moving forward, gets uploaded onto your virtual mailbox account (think email) which you can access from your phone or computer.


To learn more or to get started for free, click here.

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