Prepping for ‘the Shipathon:’ With online holiday shopping amid the pandemic, how busy will shipping get?
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Since the coronavirus pandemic began in March, Americans have largely been staying home — and ordering goods online. The U.S. Post Office and shipping companies like FedEx and UPS have been running at full-tilt ever since.
Now with holiday season approaching, delivery services are preparing for perhaps their busiest seasons ever by expanding services and hiring seasonal employees.
FedEx spokeswoman Jennifer Caccavo Cordeau says the company is preparing for a “The Shipathon,” heading into this unprecedented peak season.
“With the onset of COVID-19, we have been operating at peak levels since March, and there is no sign of slowing down,” Cordeau said.
FedEx has opened over 70,000 positions in key markets. It accelerated its seven-day residential delivery and made more investments in automated facilities.
UPS will hire more than 100,000 seasonal employees. Already, UPS spokesman Matthew O’Connor said, the company has been working at a holiday-peak level. was delivering to a volume similar to peak season last year. About 70% of deliveries have been to home, 20% higher than during regular life.
UPS has met the demand by expanding weekend operations and hiring an additional 39,000 full- and part-time employees. It’s also allowed additional time to make deliveries by modifying the regular service guarantee.
“The vast majority of our services continue with the same time commitments our customers have come to expect,” O’Connor said.
Related: Like Christmas in May: U.S. Post Office sees coronavirus-fueled surge in online shopping package deliveries
The U.S. Postal Service has been planning for the peak holiday season all year, says Naddia Dhalai, spokeswomanfor Northern Ohio District & Ohio Valley District. Seasonal workers will be hired as needed, and technology has been expanded to enhance package tracking throughout the USPS processing and transportation networks.
That’s coming on the heels of a busy election season, as the post office delivers ballot applications and ballots, and President Donald Trump has undermined trust in the institution.
So what’s a shopper to do?
FedEx is strongly encouraging people buying gifts online to shop online to shop and ship early.