UPS Expects Holiday Volume of 300 Million Packages

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United Parcel Service projects its total holiday volume during the peak period between Thanksgiving and Christmas to total 300 million packages despite the compressed holiday schedule this year.


Last year, UPS expected to deliver more than 325 million packages. The company said it does not discuss daily, weekly or monthly volume trends and only compares volume numbers by quarter. Fourth-quarter results will be released Jan. 28. UPS previously said that volume for the fourth quarter will be down about 1 percent from last year.


The annual escalation in volume due to holiday sales is expected to crest Thursday, Dec. 19. On that day, UPS expects to deliver more than 18 million air and ground packages globally. On the air side, UPS predicts the peak will be Dec. 24, with a global volume of more than 4.5 million packages, or more than double the normal average, that day.


Thanksgiving falls on Nov. 28 this year, leaving just 17 shipping days on the UPS delivery schedule between then and Christmas. Last year's calendar presented consumers a full 21 delivery days. UPS said business customers likely are aware of the short calendar, but that it is most concerned about its consumer customers getting caught in a last-minute rush.


A recent online media study by Forrester Research found more than 55 percent of U.S. Web buyers chose UPS as their shipper. In addition, UPS said online tracking requests, which average about 7 million on a typical day, will surge to 12 million inquiries Dec. 19.


Nationwide, UPS is hiring almost 60,000 driver helpers and package sorters for the holidays. More than 1,300 UPS flights will take off daily the last week before Christmas. In an average week, about 900 UPS flights take off daily. To accommodate extra air volume, UPS will add more than a dozen large jets to supplement the more than 600 aircraft in operation year-round.


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