With Christmas just 1 week away, delivery companies and the US Postal service (USPS) are facing enormous pressure to deliver presents safely and on time.
As last-minute shoppers, and Amazon customers break previous records, the USPS has already tripped up multiple times. As the largest, and most dominant delivery service in America, the USPS is expecting to send more than 850 million packages this holiday season, shattering expectations – but they are not prepared.
FedEx, a commercial delivery company, will deliver 400 million packages, and has had to build out whole new infrastructure just to meet this season’s demands. Marketing and communications’ Senior Vice President at FedEx, Patrick Fitzgerald explained that the company has begun to work with retailers directly, in order to have a better understanding on how to best deliver goods to customers and to stores using their extensive fleets of both trucks and planes.
Fitzgerald issued a warning to anxious consumers and delivery employees, “We just need to be clear in setting expectations on how much our networks can handle on any given day.”
UPS, another one of the major commercial courier service providers, is expected to deliver an incredible 750 million packages this Holliday season. These massive numbers, almost enough to eclipse the workload faced by the USPS, has been driven by, “a crush of online orders,” which have come in, creating delivery delays and backlogs.
However, UPS is prepared. They have instituted special “ready teams” who can be dispatched across the country, where existing UPS infrastructure is failing to meet demand. So far, such teams have been deployed to Atlanta, Denver, and Houston. These teams are truly “Santa’s little helpers” in the effort to make sure the perfect gifts end up under the tree on Christmas-eve.
However, it’s not all eggnog and Christmas cookies. In order to achieve these amazing holiday feats, commercial drivers are being made to work 70 hour weeks, in long 8-day cycles. “UPS dropped the ball this year,” Sean O’Brien, President of Teamsters Local 25 in Boston, had said. “Our members are out there working harder and longer than ever,” adding that the intense workload is “not healthy.”