Shippers Experience Delays As Orders Rise

Date: December 14, 2015

Online Package Volumes Up As Busy Shopping Season Begins

ABC World News reported that with “online orders soaring 14 percent” this year, deliveries by both UPS and FedEx “are already hitting delays.” Due to the flood of “orders after a surge in online sales over the Thanksgiving weekend” UPS has started to deliver “some packages in U-Haul trucks.” The phrase “UPS Fail” is becoming a “popular hashtag with consumers crying foul on their computers.” Business Insider reported that online sales from the holiday weekend reached $11 billion this year, according to Adobe Digital Index. The shipping delays resulting from the surge “could mean packages don’t make it to consumers on time and retailers have to refund orders or offer compensation like they did in 2013.” CNN reported that UPS delivered only 91 percent of its packages on time during the week of Cyber Monday, according to ShipMatrix, a company that tracks on-time deliveries. Satish Jindel, president of ShipMatrix, also said UPS is “having trouble finding the employees it needs” to handle more deliveries. UPS’ decline to the 91 percent on-time delivery rate, down from 97 percent during the same period last year, is “not what UPS would like to have, and it’s lower than customers expect,” Jindel said. UPS spokesman Steve Gaut declined to comment on the ShipMatrix figures: “All we can say is that the vast majority of our customers are getting their packages on time.” According to the Denver Post, the Post Office, UPS and FedEx “expect to handle 10 to 12.4 percent more packages this season then they did last year.” Gretchen Mathis, a spokesperson with FedEx, confirmed the company will cap delivery volume if its network cannot meet capacity. “We collaborate with our customers all year to set expectations early and understand their planned shipping needs leading into the holiday season,” she said.

What This Means For Small Businesses

The holidays are a critical time for small businesses across the US, as consumers look to take advantage of year-end deals and buy gifts for everyone on their list. These consumers expect fast, cheap shipping options to send and receive gifts. News of shipping snafus among major shippers is worrisome, because small businesses, like the consumers they serve, are counting on shippers to operate as quickly and cost-effectively as possible during this busy shopping season.

Additional Reading

USA Today, Fortune, ABC News, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune, Internet Retailer, the Albany (NY) Times Union, Memphis (TN) Business Journal, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution were among the additional outlets covering holiday shipping woes.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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