Delivery industry digs in for holiday season rush

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  To ensure that packages, letters, and cards reach their destinations in a timely fashion this holiday season, major US carriers plan to implement various strategies — from hiring temporary workers, extending hours, and adding more routes.


Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the USPS projects that it will deliver 20 billion cards, letters and packages worldwide — give or take a million or two, said Joanne Veto, a USPS spokeswoman.


The USPS has hired 13,000 extra staff members at facilities across the country, Veto said. More than 7,000 post offices will have extended hours. The busiest mailing day is expected to be December 17, while deliveries are anticipated to peak on December 19.


She went on to say that, like the other major carriers, the USPS has seen a major increase in the amount of packages sent, which is attributed to the growing popularity of online shopping. While First-Class Mail cards have remained steady for the past three or four years, the shipment of packages has increased by 25%-30% in the same period.


UPS has also seen online shopping become more and more important.


“This year we are serving 21 of the top 25 online retailers,” said Laurie Mallis, a UPS spokeswoman.


To handle the increased holiday load, UPS has hired an additional 60,000 people, Mallis said. On December 19, the carrier's peak mail day, the company expects to deliver more than 22 million packages, an increase of 40% from an average day.


FedEx is hiring 15,000 temporary employees and contractors during the holiday season, according to Denise Lauer of FedEx International Communications. The company anticipates that December 17 will be its busiest day, with 11.3 million packages moving through its FedEx Express and Ground global networks.


The peak shipping day for DHL is also December 17, when the company anticipates a 50% increase over its average daily volume for the first three quarters of 2007, according to Robert Mintz, public relations manager for DHL. That day, the carrier expects it will make between 2.4 and 2.5 million shipments.


DHL's airline partners have added more than 425 point to point routes and 440 daily truck routes. Staffing will be increased at the company's Wilmington, OH hub, as well as 19 regional hubs across the US. At DHL service centers, increased mail volume will be managed by temporary, part time, and overtime shifts, Mintz said.
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