Blackout Means Delivery Delays

Aug 17, 2003 9:30 PM  By

(Direct Newsline) The power outage that dimmed several U.S. cities also slowed down the U.S. Postal Service, Federal Express, and United Parcel Service, meaning customers in some affected areas did not get delivery on Friday.

Mark Saunders, a spokesperson for the USPS, said many Friday deliveries were suspended in Cleveland; Detroit; Royal Oak, MI; and the New York City metropolitan area, with the exception of Staten Island. In general, he said, customers mailing from or to the northeastern U.S. should expect mail delays of a day or two.

“Our logistics staff manning our National Control Center has been working around-the-clock with our nine area control centers,” Saunders said. “The centers work together to monitor and manage nationwide mail flow to determine if mail moving on trucks or planes should be diverted to nearby processing plants. The Postal Service has contingency plans and backup transportation systems in place to keep the mail moving following blizzards, floods, fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, or any other natural disasters. Power outages are no exception.”

For Memphis-based Federal Express, the blackout meant flight delays and limited pick-up and delivery in affected areas, said spokesperson Steve Barber.

FedEx was planning to work throughout the weekend to move customer shipments through the system as quickly as possible, said Barber, noting that the company’s money-back guarantee would not apply to packages scheduled for delivery on Aug. 15.

UPS spokesperson Norman Black said the biggest problem that carrier faced was the large number of customers who didn’t open for business on Friday and thus weren’t able to take delivery on packages.

Like FedEx, Atlanta-based UPS worked through the weekend to get back on schedule; Black anticipated deliveries would be back on track by Monday evening.

Surprisingly, there was little impact on the air side, he said, noting that with the exception of JFK Airport, by late Thursday evening UPS was able to get cargo flights out of airports in the New York area.