The holiday season is officially upon us as we gear up for Black Friday and prepare for weeks of surging sales. Major parcel carriers are planning for record growth with UPS, FedEX, and USPS all expecting a significant uptick in shipping volume following a boom in ecommerce activity. For example, UPS is projecting 700 million deliveries between Thanksgiving and the end of 2016, which is a 14% increase over last year.
UPS, FedEX, and USPS are all taking steps to prepare for the final weeks of the year, making sure they can deliver packages on time while keeping up with increased demand. Let's look at what each carrier is doing.
UPS is forecasting record delivery, with as many as 30 million packages being delivered each day on at least 13 of the 21 delivery days before Christmas. They are expecting a total of 700 million packages and are staffing up to meet this demand. UPS is opening 15 new or expanded hub facilities across the U.S. and is also installing mobile delivery villages and adding thousands of delivery car positions to support expanded ground delivery. In addition to new facilities, they are adding a team of workers. UPS plans to employ more than 95,000 temporary seasonal workers, including delivery helpers, package sorters, loaders, and drivers.
“Online and mobile commerce is simultaneously creating new opportunities and challenges for the retail industry, yet a constant remains: the holiday season is the most important time of the year for retailers,” said Kate Gutmann, Senior vice president UPS Sales and Solutions. “We are committed to helping make this year’s peak season a success for our shippers in all industries.”
FedEx anticipates a record peak holiday shipping season. Different than their competitors, they are specifically focused on the four Mondays during the season, which they expect to be among the busiest in the company’s history. Why Mondays? FedEx asserts that there are shifting industry dynamics beyond dramatic rises in volume. They say that holiday promotions and buying patterns have increasingly shifted, resulting in heavy demand for package delivery on Mondays during peak season. They feel that the intensity for demand on Monday has accelerated in recent years as more and more retail locations have started serving as fulfillment centers for ecommerce orders.
The rapid growth of ecommerce has driven significant shifts in demand over the last several years, and FedEx is confident that they are prepared to deliver another successful holiday due to significant investments in people, facilities, and aircraft. The company has been busy adding more than 50,000 positions leading up to peak season. Investing big in facilities, they are expecting to put $2 billion inFedEx Ground. This includes 19 new fully-automated stations and 4 new major distribution hubs. FedEx is also adding 6 non-conveyable annexes to handle over-sized packages. The company will be expanding their air fleet, as well, with 30 new aircraft and they will be adding enhanced vision systems to 270 aircraft, which helps pilots land in low visibility conditions.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is focused on staffing up to meet demand this season.Last year, they saw a 15% increase in holiday shipping and delivered nearly as many packages as UPS. This means USPS is taking a huge slice of the market share once dominated solely by UPS and FedEx. While USPS hasn't publicised any large investments in facilities or equipment, they have advertised the need for 35,000-40,000 seasonal workers. They are looking especially for recent retirees "inviting letter carriers, clerks and motor vehicle operators who have retired within the last few years to come back and help us deliver holiday cheer."
Holiday Logistics a Challenge?
Due to the volume you're shipping during the holidays, little problems can become big problems real quick. Whether you need to lower cost and want to consider a new carrier or you want to take advantage of the Amazon effect and start selling through Seller Fulfilled Prime--Pacejet can help. Contact us today and we'll make sure you're ready for the next ecommerce boom.