UPS, FedEx Working Hard to Keep Up with Peak Shipping Volume

Given the massive increase in ecommerce orders over Cyber Weekend, it’s not surprising that the volume this peak season is straining the networks and assets of UPS and FedEx, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The report said the massive influx of holiday shipments has caused some of them to be delayed, without providing any figures. Still the on-time performance of both major carriers has not been seriously impacted by the peak shipping volume from Thanksgiving on.

According to data from shipment visibility firm ShipMatrix, FedEx Ground achieved 96.2% on-time performance for the week of Dec. 4-10, up from 95.3% for the same week in 2015. For the same period UPS achieved a 93.1% on-time figure, down slightly from 93.2% in 2015. ShipMatrix bases its findings on data from millions of shipments that flow through its system.

Amazon DC
An Amazon fulfillment center

The U.S. Postal Service, which handles last-mile deliveries of online orders for Amazon and many other ecommerce companies, along with some volume from FedEx (SmartPost) and UPS (SurePost), bested both carriers with an on-time figure of 98.9% for the same week.

“UPS had an operational issue at its Chicago megahub (during the week of Nov. 27-Dec. 3, following Cyber Weekend) but it was quickly attended to and cleared promptly,” said Satish Jindel, president of ShipMatrix.

UPS spokesman Matthew O’Connor said the “vast majority” of UPS customers are receiving packages on time and in line with the service level chosen. O’Connor said UPS is shipping nearly double its normal daily U.S. shipping volume of 16 million packages.

“Few businesses can attain such a volume increase in a six week period of the year,” O’Connor said. “Studies that attempt to generalize UPS shipping performance based on a small historical sample yield incorrect conclusions and fail to predict current performance.”

While there have been selected locations where volume has surged beyond expectations, or weather has caused delays, UPS has been able to flex its resources and personnel to manage issues. This happens every year to address volume surges. “UPS customers should remain confident their packages will be delivered on-time during the holiday season and beyond,” O’Connor said.

“FedEx is proud to have achieved outstanding service during the first several weeks of the peak holiday shipping season,” said Patrick Fitzgerald, Senior Vice President, Integrated Marketing and Communications for the carrier. “We prepare year-round to be able to meet the surge in demand, and will continue to work closely with our large retail and e-tail customers during these final weeks leading up to Christmas to ensure our networks are prepared to continue to deliver the holidays.”

Mike O’Brien is Senior Content Manager of Multichannel Merchant

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