What does the USPS “Origin Post is Preparing Shipment” tracking update mean?
This is a notification that you can receive for international shipments on occasion, and it can be confusing.
In this guide, we will look into the meaning, reasons why you are seeing this update, and what you can do about it.
Let’s take a look.
Summary: What Does Origin Post Is Preparing Shipment Mean?
This USPS tracking update is a bit of a catch-all notification. It means that the package has been scanned at the origin facility, and is preparing for the next step of its journey. As this is a notification for international shipments, the next step is air transit.
Guide: Origin Post Is Preparing Shipment
From the summary above you can see that this update is a little on the vague side.
As we say, it is a catch-all alert.
In effect, it is possible to see this update while your package is waiting to leave the origin facility, be loaded onto pallets, delivered to the airport, screened at the airport, and loaded onto the plane.
Because USPS does not have direct control of the package during these processes it is unable to provide more specific updates.
Upon leaving the origin location you might see a new tracking update, such as “Processed through facility”, or “In Transit”.
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Reasons Your Package is Stuck on This Update.
Generally, a USPS “Origin Post Is Preparing Shipment” update is nothing to worry about.
It is normal procedure, and before long your shipment will depart the origin-destination and be on its way to the recipient.
However, what happens if your tracking update remains stuck on “Origin Post Is Preparing Shipment?”
If you see this update for more than a 48-hour period, (depending on the shipping service used), you can assume there has been an issue.
Some of the reasons the shipment is stuck on this alert include the following:
1. High Package Volume and Your Shipment Departure is Delayed
This is a very common reason for a package being stuck on Origin Post Is Preparing Shipment.
Essentially, for a package to leave the origin facility it has a scheduled time for the onward journey.
However, if the package volume is high, and your item is “bumped” onto a later flight this inevitably causes a delay.
Furthermore, because flights are booked in advance, the package might have to wait for a new flight days later.
Depending on the flight frequency to the relevant delivery location, the delay can be anything from a few hours to several days.
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2. Package Pallet Removed or Checked
To understand this reason for a delay you need to visualize how your package moves through the origin facility.
Part of the process involves your mail item being bundled onto a pallet with other packages destined for transportation to the same region or country.
These are then shrink-wrapped tightly in preparation for transportation through the upcoming delivery infrastructure.
If that pallet has to be opened up or removed for any reason, (for example more items added, or a damaged or suspicious package needs to be checked), it will cause a delay.
The entire pallet may miss its allocated departure from the facility as a result. This will cause your tracking update to remain on “Origin Post is Preparing Shipment,” while it is booked onto another flight.
- Related Content: International Tracking: Processing Completed at Origin
3. Transportation Delays – Vehicle, Staffing & Weather
As we have covered, if your package experiences a delay on departing the origin facility its designation can remain on Origin Post is Preparing Shipment.
Therefore, anything that can cause a delay on the transportation method out of the facility, is potentially problematic.
Staffing issues during COVID lockdowns, incremental weather conditions causing flight and truck delays, and even vehicle malfunction.
If your package is stuck at the origin location, so will the tracking update.
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4. Failure to be Scanned
If your package misses a scan on the way out of the facility it will be stuck on Origin Post is Preparing Shipment.
While this is rare as much of the process is automated, missed scans clearly can happen from time to time.
Only when your mail item receives its next scan will the tracking details be updated. In the case of international shipments, this will likely be during the customs process.
How Long Will My Package Be Stuck on “Origin Post is Preparing Shipment”?
How long your package will remain on the “Origin Post is Preparing Shipment” update varies.
We would argue that if you see your package stuck for more than 48hrs you should start making inquiries as to what might be happening, (see below).
Anything less than this and the problem could still resolve itself on its own.
Most of the reasons listed above are overcome within a 48-hour time period without the need to contact USPS or the shipper.
- Related Content: What Does “Departed USPS Regional Facility” Mean?
What to do When you Receive an “Origin Post is Preparing Shipment” Update?
Only if your package has been stuck for over 48 hours should you start making inquiries.
Then it is the case of contacting USPS customer services. Make sure you have the tracking number on hand, as well as details of the destination address.
If you are the shipper, you may also want to contact the recipient explaining that the package has been delayed.
I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂