Shipping companies across the globe are still working to get packages delivered this holiday season, but they are facing many challenges, causing delays in deliveries.
Spokespeople from UPS, FedEx, and USPS say they are facing challenges on all fronts. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a surge of online shopping, but at the same time, the rising COVID-19 case numbers are taking drivers off the road, creating an overflow of mail for a smaller amount of drivers.
These companies say as people stay home for the holidays, they are choosing to ship their presents to loved ones instead of taking them on their own, and that causes an even greater backup.
USPS said in a statement: “The Postal Service delivered a record amount of packages this holiday season in the midst of the pandemic. While every year we carefully plan for peak holiday season, a historic record of holiday volume, compounded by a temporary employee shortage due to the COVID-19 surge, and capacity challenges with airlifts and trucking for moving this historic volume of mail, led to temporary delays. We are proud of the efforts of our employees and will continue to work around the clock to deliver all packages and mail entered into our system. We thank our customers for their continued support. The U.S. Postal Service is not involved in the shipping process for COVID-19 vaccines at this time.”
FedEx and UPS are also main carriers of the vaccines being shipped nationwide, although both companies say they have a separate fleet of trailers that are made for shipping things that are kept cold, so those shipments do not impact regular package shipping.
In a statement, FedEx specified they "have two networks for delivery in North America - FedEx Express, with cold capabilities that serve a majority of our healthcare customers and is shipping vaccines, as well as FedEx Ground, which is everyday package delivery," meaning the vaccine distribution does not impact the shipping of regular packages.
UPS data shows in the last week of November, all three main mail carriers were coming up at 92% accuracy or higher for on-time delivery performance, even though they are working through a record number of packages this season. UPS had the highest accuracy rate with 96.3% of packages coming in on time during that week.
In a statement, UPS said “This is one of the most successful peak holiday shipping seasons ever as we focus on maintaining a reliable delivery network that all of our customers can depend on. Whether it’s delivering the holidays according to plans made with our customers, helping small and medium-sized businesses take advantage of holiday purchases, or distributing the vaccine where needed, UPS is prepared this holiday season.”
All three carriers have also hired thousands of permanent and seasonal employees to help make it through peak season. In addition, UPS also built 20 new facilities in 2020 and added on to their air shipping units as well.