Holiday shipping gridlock delayed 6 million packages a day

The flood of mail and online holiday purchases is overwhelming the American shipping system. An estimated 6 million packages a day are stranded, sitting idle in retailers’ warehouses or shipping centers and waiting to be picked up by FedEx, UPS, Amazon, US Postal Service and other shippers.

According to Shipmatrix estimates, a software company that helps retailers and others track shipments and collects data from millions of packages shipped from more than 100,000 locations in the US. Another 2.5 million packages are being picked up daily, but are not reaching their destination on time, data show.

“Our entire industry is under water because of demand,” said Satish Jindal, president of ShipMetrics. Friday will likely be the last day consumers can ship things by regular mail so they can reach Christmas, he said.

Gridlock is fueling the holiday shopping season, frustrating shoppers and retailers, as well as potentially damaging the economy. Coronavirus epidemic Flutter appears. Some experts are warning that packages that have not yet been mailed will not reach their destination using standard shipping before the Christmas holiday.

Another industry insider with access to internal data from a major shipping company told CBS MoneyWatch that the number of packages not picked up each day is far higher this holiday season than in previous years. A big winter storm Impact on the northeast More delays may mean.

Online shopping strains retailers and shipper …


Both FedEx and UPS declined to say how many packages are delayed in transit. A UPS spokesperson said that 96% of its shipments had arrived on time this holiday season. But that figure includes only the packages that UPS picked up – not the ones that missed it.

A UPS spokesperson said in an emailed statement to CBS MoneyWatch, “This is one of the most successful peak holiday shipping seasons, when we focus on maintaining a reliable delivery network that all of our customers can depend on.” Huh.”

“Data provided by third party consultants may vary depending on specific markets, customers and shipping,” a FedEx spokesperson quoted in an email. He also said that the company’s role in helping deliver the Pfizer-BioNotech vaccine is not affecting regular shipments, noting that the company is using a separate fleet of trucks and airplanes for that effort .

A FedEx spokesperson said, “As stated earlier, we continue to work with our customers to manage their volume and help ensure that we can provide the best possible service.”

“Awaiting Refund Request”

Many retailers say they are experiencing shipping delays. Earlier this month, Victoria’s secret owner L Brands warned investors in filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission that “additional bottlenecks” in shipping capacity during the holiday season could hurt sales. On Tuesday, Etsy also updated its shipping cut-off date for its retailers and asked them to add dates to their product detail pages.

Artleen Marie Matthews, a Milford, Pennsylvania-based seller who sells bath and aromatherapy lotions on Etsy and usually ships through the US Postal Service, said customers have been facing delays since late November And some orders are delayed by two weeks. On Wednesday, it updated its product page to warn that it could arrive 10 business days late.

Matthews told CBS MoneyWatch, “I’m currently asking customers with messages about where their packages are. Some are understanding, some are not understanding.” “I am waiting for refund request messages to start flooding my inbox any moment now.”

Etsy said it would allow sellers to flag off any negative reviews from customers who are only complaining about shipping problems. A spokesperson for the e-commerce company said its website has “dynamically adjusted estimated delivery dates” to provide buyers with the latest information.

“We know that the holidays are an incredibly important time for the 3.7 million creative entrepreneurs selling on Etsy,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “To address carrier delays in the US, we are focused on supporting vendors by providing the latest information we have.”

COVID vaccine delivery scheme is underway


Olive and Cocoa, an online gift-basket retailer based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is warning customers about possible delays and shipping slots are running out. Wednesday was the last day the website said it could send orders by standard shipping for delivery for Christmas. Subsequent orders will not come until 29 December. Two-day shipping is not available on the website until January, although slots remain faster – and pricier – delivery.

“Olive and Cocoa recognizes that the entire shipping system is overloaded,” a spokesperson for Olive & Cocoa said in an email statement to CBS MoneyWatch. “We are working closely with our shipping partners to provide our customers with the best availability possible. We are looking to meet availability and deadlines, and to ensure that holidays ordered from Olive and Cocoa Gifts are being delivered in a manner consistent with our high customer service standards. “

Growing disappointment

Holiday shipping delays are causing headaches for consumers. Christine and Bruce Merevic of Chicago are unable to see their family in Alabama for Christmas because he is undergoing chemotherapy and is believed to be at high risk for COVID-19. Given his disappointment, the Merivix Holiday package, which he sent priority and insured in early December, has still not arrived. He filed a claim, but was asked to investigate back in two weeks.

“It’s very disappointing,” Christine told Tara Molina of CBS Chicago. “They have no idea where it is.”

USPS to implement “extraordinary measures”


CBS News correspondent Janet Shalian said this week that FedEx and UPS have told some retailers that they will not take additional packages beyond their previous commitments before retailers see a spike in orders. It has given more orders to the USPS, adding to the mail delay starting in the summer. Earlier this week USPS, in a public statement, encouraged customers to send their holiday gifts and cards “as soon as possible”.

Even before the holidays, Shipping delay was a problem During the epidemic, that prompted some consumers to increase their online orders and avoid in-person shopping. FedEx and UPS began hiring in early November to add a combined 170,000 workers for the season. But those issues are now intruding on many people’s holidays.

“It was not possible for shippers to get ready,” said Jindal of ShipMetrics. “It will take two or three years to prepare for this year’s jump in demand.”


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