A flood of mail, and a historic boom in online holiday purchases andIn the Northeast, for years, they were united to overwhelm the shipping system in the United States.
An estimated 6 million packages a day accumulate in retail warehouses or freight centers and wait for them to be received by FedEx, UPS, Amazon, the U.S. Postal Service and other couriers. The latest shipping data showed that another 3.5 million packages are received every day but not reaching their destination on time. It could get worse soon: USPS on-time delivery rates fell to just over 86% in the third week of December, down from 93% three weeks ago.
That’s according to estimates by ShipMatrix, a software company that helps retailers and others track shipments and collects data on millions of packages sent from more than 100,000 locations in the United States.
“Our entire industry is underwater because of the demand [for deliveries]ShipMatrix president Satish Gendel said. Friday will likely be the last day consumers can ship things by regular mail until they arrive by Christmas, he added.
In fact, the deadline for parcels reaching their destination using standard shipping before the Christmas holidays is likely to be too late for most retailers and shippers. The USPS official last day for delivery before Christmas is Friday, December 18th. But even the more expensive two-day, or overnight, shipping may run out, too. Small business owners, According to Business Insider, Let’s say FedEx rationalizes the number of deliveries it will complete to retailers because of the order crush. It stated that some were held up to a maximum of 75 parcels per day.
A FedEx spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch after inquiring about retailer shipping limits that the company had “worked closely with customers” ahead of the holiday season “to ensure the best possible service.” “Throughout this peak period, we continue to collaborate regularly with clients on ways to take advantage of the flexibility of our network and operate for seven days during this busy time,” she added. The spokesperson declined to comment on whether FedEx had imposed package limits.
The stalemate that shipping industry veterans have described – the worst this holiday season compared to in past years, they say – is reducing the holiday shopping season, frustrating consumers and retailers alike, as well as potentially damaging the economy as the recovery fromIt appears to be sputtering.
FedEx and UPS declined to disclose how many parcels were overdue. A UPS spokesperson said 96% of its shipments arrived on time this holiday season. But this number only includes packages that UPS picked – not packages it missed.
“This is one of the most successful holiday shipping peak seasons ever, as we focus on maintaining a reliable delivery network that all of our customers can count on,” a UPS spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
“Data provided by third-party consultants can vary widely based on the specific markets, customers and shipping lanes they choose for their analyzes,” a FedEx spokesperson said. She also said that the company’s role in helping to distribute the Pfizer Bio-Tech vaccine does not affect regular shipments, noting that the company uses a separate fleet of trucks and aircraft for this effort.
“As mentioned earlier, we continue to work closely with our customers to manage their volume and help ensure the best service possible,” a FedEx spokesperson added.
Awaiting refund request
A number of retailers say they are facing shipping delays. Earlier this month, the owner of Victoria’s Secret L Brands warned investors in A. Filing With the US Securities and Exchange Commission that “additional restrictions” in shipping capacity during the holiday season could hurt sales. On December 15th, too Etsy Update deadlines for delivery To retailers and ask them to add dates to their product description pages.
Arlene Marie Matthews, a Milford, Pennsylvania-based vendor that sells shower and scents on Etsy and generally ships via mail service, said customers have faced delays since late November and that some orders are delayed by up to two weeks. On December 16th, it refreshed its product page on Etsy to warn it that orders might arrive 10 business days late.
“I’m currently inundated with messages from customers asking where their packages are,” Matthews said. “Some understand, some don’t.” CBS MoneyWatch. “I am waiting for refund request messages to start flooding my inbox at any point now.”
Etsy said it will allow sellers to report any negative reviews from customers who complain about shipping issues only to remove any comments. A spokesperson for the e-commerce company said the company had “dynamically adjusted the estimated delivery times” on its website to provide buyers with the most recent information.
“We know the holidays are a very important time for the 3.7 million creative entrepreneurs selling on Etsy,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “To address carriers’ delays in the United States, we focus on supporting vendors by making our most recent information available.”
Olive & Cocoa, an online gift basket retailer based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is warning customers of potential delays and that shipping outlets are running out. December 16 was the last day the site mentioned it could ship orders via standard shipping for delivery by Christmas. Subsequent orders will not arrive until December 29th. Two-day shipping isn’t available on the site until January, though hatches remain for faster delivery – and higher prices.
A spokesman for “Olive & Cocoa” realizes that the entire shipping system is overburdened. “We work closely with our shipping partners to provide our customers with the best possible information regarding shipping availability and timelines, and to ensure that requested holiday gifts from Olive & Cocoa are delivered in a manner consistent with our high standards of customer service.”
“They have no idea where it is.”
Holiday shipping delays are causing problems for consumers. Christine and Bruce Merevik from Chicago are unable to see their family in Alabama for Christmas as he is undergoing chemotherapy and is considered at risk of contracting COVID-19. Adding to their frustration, Merevicks’ holiday package, which they prioritized and had insured in early December, did not arrive. They filed a lawsuit, but were asked to verify again within two weeks.
“It’s so frustrating,” Kristen Merevik Tara Molina from CBS Chicago. “They have no idea where it is.”
CBS News reporter Janet Shamlian reported this week that FedEx and UPS have told some retailers that they will not pick up additional packages that exceed their previous commitments before retailers see a spike in orders. This prompted more requests to the Postal Service, adding to mail delays that began this summer ahead of the November elections. Earlier this week the USPS in public statement Encourage customers to send their gifts and cards “as soon as possible”.
Even before the holidays,During the pandemic, this has led some consumers to increase their orders online and avoid personal shopping. FedEx and UPS began ramping up hiring in early November to be ready for an expected increase in deliveries, adding up to 170,000 workers combined for the season. But these issues now intrude many people on holidays.
“The shippers couldn’t have been ready,” ShipMatrix’s Gendel said. “It would have taken two or three years to be ready for the jump in demand this year.”
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