UPS plans to deliver ’36 million packages’ on Tuesday

Updated: December 22, 2015
UPS plans to deliver 36 million packages on Tuesday

UPS plans to deliver about 36 million packages on Tuesday, its busiest day of the year, up from 35 million last year. The key to getting all those orders delivered on time is Worldport, a massive sorting facility located in Louisville, Kentucky.

Finishing the peak season without a service misstep would be especially crucial for UPS, which disappointed some customers in 2013 when foul weather and a last-minute surge in online orders led to late gift deliveries. UPS worked to refine its procedures this year after adding too many temporary employees and facilities in 2014, only to see them left idle at times.

UPS is “in very good shape,” said David Huckeba of shipping consultant Intelligent Audit. “There are only four days left and people are going to ship a lot by air and the air system is going to be tight. But that’s nothing out of the ordinary.”

Record Highs

Tuesday’s forecast is for mild temperatures, including many record highs, across much of the U.S. There won’t be “much in the way of winter weather,” said Jim Hayes, a meteorologist with the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. For the full week ending on Christmas Day, the U.S. mountain states will be the only region dealing with the season’s typical snow and cold, Hayes said.

UPS and FedEx have had to impose shipping limits on some commercial customers, spokesmen said. This year, UPS has worked with retailers to submit orders on Saturdays instead of Mondays, letting the company process packages during the weekend and start moving them earlier, spokesman Steve Gaut said.

“The peak planning has worked well,” Gaut said. “For the most part, we’ve had successful operations and have been running at our plan.”

About 93.2 percent of UPS ground shipments were on time the week of Dec. 6-12, the most recent figures available, according to Satish Jindel, president of logistics firm ShipMatrix. That compared with 96.5 percent for the same week a year earlier, he said. The on-time rate for UPS express shipments for the week of Dec. 13-19 was 96.4 percent, down from 97.9 percent.

FedEx Ground was on time 95.3 percent, up from 94.8 percent a year earlier. The rate for the company’s air shipments was 98.7 percent, compared with 97.6 percent, Jindel said. The differences with 2014 aren’t material, he said.

Sportact Editors and Wire Services