The Tragedy of Surepost YW Packages


The Tragedy of SurePost YW packages

At the request of the shipper some packages are shipped via super-cheap UPS SurePost.

All that UPS does is take this package from the shipper to a Seattle area Post Office.

Afterwards it is in the hands of the Postal Service (USPS)

You can tell it is a SurePost shipment when the letters "YW" (sometimes YN or similar Y-something) appear in position 9 and 10 of the tracking number; eg:


Notice the "YW" in the number. It is next handed to a Seattle area Post Office hub. I have seen Seattle, Tacoma, Kent, Fife, and Federal Way, Washington.

Eventually the Postal Service takes it to the Barge Company, where it is put in shipping containers. Once a number of containers are full, they get BARGED to Anchorage. Typically a 2 week ocean voyage.

Once in Anchorage, the containers are taken to the USPS Airport Annex at the Anchorage Internationl Airport, broken down, and Nome packages sent to Nome, AK.

The process, from Shipper to Nome Post Office takes From Three to Six Weeks!

Track this yourself;

  • Track UPS at using the 1Z number.
  • USPS tracking is shown at top of page.
    You will have to cut-and-paste the USPS number.
  • It looks like this:


  • Track THAT postal number at
  • Watch it make its way from Seattle area, to Anchorage and eventually to Nome
  • Tracking stops when it is put on the Connex; and will resume once the Connex is torn down in Anchorage.

Please Note That:

  • Neither UPS or USPS is to blame for the long transit time.
  • Both UPS and USPS are doing what they were paid for to do by the Shipper
  • Shipping it this way was the Shipper's Choice
  • When the package is handed to the USPS in Seattle area, UPS involvement ends.
  • Other than commiserating with you, there is nothing we can do.
  • For certain, we (UPS) will not be the ones delivering it to you.
  • The package will come to Nome, and be delivered by USPS -- the Post Office.

If you got free shipping, or even "standard shipping," then there is not much you can do. You ordered the item, and the seller/shipper sent it this way, and you have to grin and bear it.

It has come to my attention that some sellers simply say "Shipped by UPS". That is not accurate; if it says "UPS Ground", "UPS 2d day" etc then you know for sure. Buyer beware, because some shippers like to disguise or mislead.

If you paid for "expedited shipping", "express shipping", UPS shipping of any sort --even ground--, you simply were CHEATED by the seller or shipper. My suggestion is to carefully check your order records and see what you paid for. You may be able to get a refund, cancel the order, have a substitute package sent USPS priority or UPS ground or air, or make a fuss with the credit card company.

As a courtesy, the site monitors most of these packages and reports when it was delivered by the post office.

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