UPS launches Delivery Intercept service

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UPS has launched UPS Delivery Intercept, an automated service that enables shippers to intercept and reroute packages before they are delivered.

A shipper can use a UPS package application such as UPS WorldShip, UPS CampusShip or UPS Internet Shipping, click on the 1Z tracking number and request a reroute. Interception requests also can be made through a shipper's myups.com account as well as via UPS Signature Tracking.

"We have been hearing from our customers for many years now that there are times when they ship something out and there is a problem with it," said Stu Markus, product manager of Delivery Intercept at UPS, Atlanta. "The problem can be either on the shipper's side ... or it could be on the receiver's side."

For example, a shoe manufacturer may realize while a shipment is en route to a retailer that each box contains two left shoes. The shipping manager intercepts the packages, returns them to sender and sends out a correct order.

Other popular scenarios, according to Mr. Marcus, include companies that send double orders of merchandise by mistake or merchandise with the wrong logo on it.

UPS said its Package Flow Technology powers Delivery Intercept. UPS can not only map more efficient routes for drivers but also flag packages for special handling while they are in the UPS network. In fact, an interception can even be executed after a package is on board one of UPS' delivery vehicles.

Shippers can request to intercept packages being shipped from and to anywhere in the United States and Puerto Rico.

"After the request comes in, we average 15 minutes before the request gets to the destination center," Mr. Marcus said.

Satish Jindel, a transportation analyst at SJ Consulting Group, Sewickley, PA, said the service offers promise but still needs some improvement.

With Delivery Intercept, the service gets intercepted only after it reaches the final destination, he said. For example, if he ships something today from New York to Los Angeles and he calls tomorrow to have his package intercepted, even if it is in Chicago, UPS has to wait until it gets to Los Angeles before it can send it back.

"So, my inventory is still out for 10 days versus two or three days," Mr. Jindel said. "The ideal thing would be for it to be stopped at the first building it arrives at. That would be better for the carrier and the customer."

The real value will be when UPS enhances Delivery Intercept so that "the moment UPS gets the call or Web notification from the customer to intercept the package, UPS begins the process at the very first point of handling at UPS," he said.

Currently, shippers have several options once UPS intercepts a package, including return the package to the shipper, redirect the package to a new address, hold the package for delivery on a future date or hold the package for pickup by the cosigner.

Customers who use Quantum View Notify can receive notification of the requested and successful interceptions. They can also view the intercept status when they track the package on any UPS visibility system.

UPS Delivery Intercept is available for all small package deliveries, excluding packages using UPS SonicAir service. UPS Delivery Intercept costs $10 per interception and is charged only on completion of the intercept.

Since the service was launched on March 26, "there has been a good amount of interest and good activity," Mr. Marcus said.

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