By Tim McNicholas

HODGKINS, Ill. (CBS) — Shipping companies expect a record surge this holiday season — even bigger than last year.

So how will the recent supply chain struggles affect that spike? CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas went to one of the largest UPS facilities in the country in a search for answers to that question.

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The UPS warehouse in Hodgkins might be called the package sorting superhighway.

“We got about 65 miles of belts and shoots and rollers here,” said UPS Human Resources Director Rommel Carlson.

Carlson explains that is how 1.8 million packages zip through the Hodgkins warehouse per day. Over the holiday season, that number will jump to more than 3 million per day.

“This our kind of World Series is going on right now – this is our World Series,” Carlson said. “So we feel really good.”

Carlson said 2020 was the most unusual holiday season in his 36 years with UPS. Record online shopping led to record shipping volume — a trend that shows no signs of letting up.

“This isn’t our first rodeo,” Carlson said.

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And supply chain struggles and labor shortages also aren’t going away.

“Buy early, shop early, ship early – because we’ve all heard about the pinch points in the supply chain, well once those packages get to us, we’ll make service on them and we’re ready to go,” Carlson said.

The company also encourages their business customers to launch their sales early. The shipping giant is beefing up their staff to meet the increased demand.

UPS is still hoping to hire about 2,000 people in the Chicago by the week of Cyber Monday, which is usually their busiest week of the year.

“They’ll be on board well after the holiday, because of course after the holidays, there’s the return season and so on,” Carlson said.

About 10 percent of all UPS shipments move through this facility in Hodgkins. Scanners and mechanical bumpers help direct those packages to the right trailer before they hit the road.

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UPS said they have also been improving technology at some of their Chicago area facilities with the goal of speeding up their operations – especially during such a busy time of year.

Tim McNicholas