Each holiday season, parcel delivery services in the US face a surge in demand that stretches their capacity to the limit. In most years, it’s all they can do to keep up. The three big players – USPS, UPS, and FedEx – roll out holiday strategies to ramp up operations to keep deliveries arriving on time. But this year, most people are already bracing for some significant delays.
Pandemic-driven supply chain disruptions and abnormally high preexisting eCommerce demand have led industry insiders to warn consumers that their holiday packages might not arrive on time. But to everyone’s surprise, the three big shipping players have announced their holiday 2021 shipping deadlines – and they’re not much different than they were last year.
US Postal Service Holiday Shipping DeadlinesRead More »
For residents outside of the lower 48 states, the dates aren’t much different. Hawaiian residents using First-Class or Priority Mail need to ship their packages to the mainland by December 17th. Residents of Alaska have until December 18th to do the same. And for those who still can’t resist doing some last-minute shopping, Hawaiian and Alaskan residents can ship using Priority Mail Express by December 21st to reach the mainland by Christmas day.
How USPS is Handling the Holiday Surge
To keep things moving, USPS announced their plans to hire an additional 40,000 seasonal workers this year. To make that happen, they’re holding a series of 58 job fairs in select cities in the weeks to come. And that’s not all. They’re also leasing millions of square feet of temporary facilities to accommodate new processing equipment and package sorting operations.
UPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines
For its part, UPS hasn’t made any changes to its customary holiday shipping deadlines this year. Shippers using the UPS 3-Day Select service have until December 21st to send out packages they’d like to arrive by Christmas day. And users who choose the UPS Next-Day Air service have until December 23rd to do so.
UPS didn’t provide any specific guidance for users of its ground shipping services. Because the ground routes are complex and subject to capacity limitations, they don’t have a one-size-fits-all deadline. Instead, UPS suggests its customers should check its website for exact details – as early as possible.
How UPS is Handling the Holiday Surge
Like the USPS, UPS also announced plans to hire additional workers for the holiday season. But they’re hiring plans dwarf those of the postal service. UPS is looking to add an eye-popping 100,000 seasonal workers to deal with increased holiday demand this year. They’re even streamlining their hiring process so that most applicants will have an offer in hand within 30 minutes of applying.
UPS is even sweetening the deal to attract as many workers as possible to fill open seasonal roles. A company press release announced that seasonal workers that complete three consecutive months of employment can earn up to $1,300 towards college expenses. That should serve as quite an effective lure for students looking to earn some extra holiday cash.
FedEx Holiday Shipping Deadlines
Although FedEx did alter its deadlines compared to last year, it didn’t do so by much. Packages shipped by FedEx ground have a shipping deadline of December 15th. And FedEx 2-day customers need to get their packages sent out by December 22nd if they want them to arrive by Christmas day. And while users of FedEx’s same-day service last year could have waited until the 25th – literally the last minute – to send out their gifts, this year they’ll have to do so by the 24th.
How FedEx is Handling the Holiday Surge
FedEx is staffing up much like its rival UPS to deal with the flood of holiday packages it expects to receive. They’re looking to hire 90,000 additional seasonal workers, which is 20,000 more than they brought on last year. To find them, the company held in-person hiring events in five of its hub cities last month – although it’s unclear how successful they were.
In addition, the company announced plans to open new hubs and sorting centers to accommodate the additional holiday volume. Their press release on the matter also alluded to the company’s plans to make additional improvements to delivery capabilities and package handling. That should come as a relief for anyone sending a fragile gift to a loved one this year.
An On-Time Holiday Season
If the three major shippers keep their word, Americans should have no trouble getting their holiday packages where they need to go on time this year. After months of warnings and trepidation, that’s some welcome good news. Now all everyone has to do is figure out what to get for everyone on their list. And that’s enough of a challenge for most of us as it i