UPS is considering a move into the fast-growth white glove delivery market through a trucking partnership, according to a report in Reuters.
This type of service involves handling larger, bulky items like furniture, appliances and home entertainment that often require special handling and in-home installation.
UPS would not say who it had been in talks with, but Reuters said one company was Werner Enterprises, which launched a white glove delivery service in 2016. Some of the major players in the space include sector leader XPO Logistics as well as SEKO Logistics, J.B. Hunt and Ryder.
Jim Barber, UPS COO, said the company hasn’t made a final decision on a partnership “because you have to balance it with our Express network, our labor constraints and our strategy going forward.”
Final-mile services, including white glove delivery, represent a $3.7 billion market in the U.S. which could reach $12 billion in the next decade, according to Noel Perry, principal at Transport Futures. This is driven largely by younger consumers who have become comfortable going online to purchase larger items like furniture and bedding.
A partnership or acquisition would be the best way for UPS to enter the lucrative market, given its network constraints; its home delivery limit is 150 lbs., the same for rival FedEx. It would enable UPS to pick up additional business from retail and ecommerce customers without the capital outlay.
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