UPS handling record number of packages



Hopes are high at shipping giant UPS that this year’s holiday season will wrap up with on-time deliveries, even amid a surge in online shopping and a record number of packages.

Sandy Springs-based UPS is delivering more than 30 million packages a day this week. Over the entire holiday season, it expects to deliver 700 million packages this holiday season, up 14 percent from last year — volumes that result in some late deliveries.

Data from ShipMatrix, a shipping software company that tracks the industry, show that UPS delivered about 98.5 percent of packages on time last week. However, that still means that thousands of packages were delivered late. UPS competitor FedEx Ground, which handles a smaller share of e-commerce deliveries, had a 99.2 percent on-time delivery rate last week, according to ShipMatrix.

“The few packages that miss service get undue attention at this time of year,” said ShipMatrix president Satish Jindel. With some customers posting complaints on Twitter about wrong address deliveries, Jindel said in some instances, it’s “because of the huge volume and speed that [UPS and FedEx] are moving.”

Still, nearly all packages are arriving at doorsteps on time, according to UPS. The company spends all year planning for the peak season underway now.

UPS in the fall began hiring more than 95,000 seasonal workers to prepare for the holiday shipping period running from November 2016 through January 2017. The company also opened 15 new or expanded hub facilities this year, and installed "mobile delivery villages" and added capacity at its facilities.

Winter weather in Montana and Wyoming drove some delivery issues, according to Rosenberg. “But knock wood, weather’s been fine” in most parts of the country, she said, and forecasts are promising.

“We feel really good that the vast majority of our packages and our delivery commitments are being met,” said UPS spokesman Susan Rosenberg. “We are fully loaded up in vehicles all over the country.”

UPS will not deliver on Christmas Day, and Monday is a UPS holiday, Rosenberg said. The U.S. Postal Service is also closed Christmas Day and Monday, with regular deliveries resuming Tuesday.

“Every year on Christmas Eve, we just sweep our buildings to be able to get that volume on the street,” Rosenberg said.

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