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UPS Expects 340M Deliveries in Peak Season

United Parcel Service Inc. completed its holiday operations plan and expects to deliver more than 340 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Atlanta company said yesterday.

The biggest spike is to come Tuesday, Dec. 21, with about 20 million air and ground packages being delivered. UPS said this equates to 230 packages every second, or 6 million-plus packages beyond normal daily delivery volume.

Delivery of air packages will peak Dec. 22 with an anticipated global volume of about 5 million. That's 2.5 times the normal average.

UPS said it would hire nearly 70,000 seasonal workers in the United States, including package sorters and driver helpers. Its ground delivery fleet of 88,000 package cars, vans and tractors will increase by more than 7,000 vehicles. UPS Airlines will add two dozen large jets to its year-round operating fleet.

Holiday customers can look forward to faster deliveries through UPS' ground network. This year it produced transit time improvements for ground service involving 20 metropolitan areas, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Washington, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

General UPS shipping deadlines for Christmas delivery include:

· UPS Ground — ship by Wednesday, Dec. 15.

· 3 Day Select — ship by Dec. 20.

· 2nd Day Air — ship by Dec. 22.

· Next Day Air — ship by Dec. 23.

UPS will maintain its service guarantees throughout the holidays on UPS Next Day Air, 2nd Day Air and 3 Day Select packages. UPS' network, including commercial and residential ground services, will remain open through Christmas Eve.

UPS said the growth of Internet shopping bears watching during the holiday season. Forrester Research predicts online holiday sales will rise 20 percent over 2003's holiday level to $13.2 billion this year. Also, UPS expects nearly 300 million hits to www.UPS.com on Dec. 21.

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