UPS, FedEx, Other Shippers Already Experiencing Delays With Holiday Deliveries

UPS expects to deliver 750 million packages this holiday season, up from 712 million last year. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)
UPS expects to deliver 750 million packages this holiday season, up from 712 million last year. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

If it seems like your online orders are arriving later than expected, you’re not alone.

An influx of online purchases — particularly during Cyber Monday, the busiest online shopping day in U.S. history — is testing the limits of carriers including UPS, despite heavy investment in new warehouses and seasonal employees. Americans spent a record $6.59 billion online on Cyber Monday, according to data from Adobe Analytics.

The number of late deliveries typically doubles during the holidays, leading to headaches for shoppers and retailers alike, according to data from LateShipment.com, an Orlando-based start-up that tracks shipment delays.

UPS, the world’s largest delivery company, warned last week that some deliveries would be delayed by one or two days, as staffers worked extended hours to manage the rush. UPS expects its holiday load to rise 5 percent, to 750 million packages, this holiday season, while FedEx says it’s planning for up to 400 million parcels.

And pilots who deliver for DHL and Amazon’s Prime Air say they are already experiencing delays, which are likely to grow worse in coming weeks.

“It looks like the next three weeks are going to be challenging, particularly with serving Amazon,” said Robert Kirchner, a pilot for Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings and executive council chairman of Teamsters Local 1224, a labor union that represents pilots and crew members from 11 airlines. “Amazon is already expecting delay problems — we know this from UPS and certainly from our own flight problems — and we’re expecting that it’s going to get worse in the next two weeks leading up to Christmas.”

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SOURCE: Abha Bhattarai 
The Washington Post