Your package is coming
A recent kerfuffle between Amazon.com and the United States Post Office had Block Islanders worried that their packages might not get delivered, but that is not the case.
Amazon has contracts with UPS, FedEx and the Post Office for delivery to consumers and businesses nationally, along with their own fleet of delivery vehicles. In the case of Block Island, they deliver via those entities, which are then contracted with Interstate Navigation to get the packages from Galilee to the island.
What concerned some islanders were hearsay, social-media stories that Amazon had circumvented the Post Office and delivered directly to the boat in Galilee via Amazon trucks, where they were rejected for lack of a contract with Interstate Navigation, and sent back. In fact, Amazon was advised to return the shipments to the post office and they would in turn get them to the island, and that is what has happened.
Once they arrive on Block Island, Lamb’s Package Service has the Herculean task of de-boxing the pallet loads daily, and then putting them on a growing fleet of trucks to go out all over the island on sometimes impossible-to-navigate dirt paths and roads. The company relies on a savvy group of hardened young island workers who know better than to rely on intermittent GPS, know the hidden houses and the dirt paths that lead to near-invisible fire numbers, and try to complete over 1,000 deliveries in a day.
And those numbers continue to grow as the crowds grow. Dede Beck, the owner of the company said the daily task is further complicated by all the weekly renters who are contracted to Amazon Prime and use the service to stock the house.
“It’s really critical that people put the fire number of the house and the road,” said Beck. “We pay little attention to the names of the guests or the home owner. I spend hours on the phone with the staff loading the trucks almost everyday simply trying to figure out what packages go where. General Delivery to the Smiths, Block Island, R.I. doesn’t work. And the volume has exploded over the years, driven by Covid and the convenience factor. People used to go off-island once or twice a month. Now they can turn to their computer at ten o’clock at night, source it on sale and save on the travel and lugging aggravation.”
Anyone who has watched the delivery staff knows they work incredibly fast, and are in great shape, often running between the trucks and each delivery in order to complete
the day’s run before dark. Many of the boxes can weigh 20 to 30 pounds, loaded with a week’s supply of family or business needs.
On a recent Tuesday at 1 p.m., a small army of sorters worked feverishly in sorting the boxes depending on island destination, as the packages don’t arrive on the island till noon, constricting the available hours to complete the job. Then the same staff, complemented an hour later by some high school kids as the final bell rings, cover the many
roads and trails as quickly as they can before darkness. Working for Lamb's is better than any gym membership!