The holidays are stressful for just about everyone, what with shopping lists, travel plans and countless other responsibilities every December. But perhaps no one is under more pressure than the shipping industry. UPS, FedEx and other delivery companies are concerned that they’re falling behind in their holiday deliveries in 2017, according to The Washington Post
This is always a difficult time for the shipping industry, as the rate of late deliveries typically doubles during the holiday season. This year, though, it’s worse than usual. Adobe Analytics found that Americans spent $6.59 billion online on Cyber Monday, an all-time record, and that shippers weren’t ready for the extra workload. UPS is expecting to handle 750 million packages this season; FedEx anticipates 400 million..
“It looks like the next three weeks are going to be challenging, particularly with serving Amazon,” said Robert Kirchner, executive council chairman of pilots’ union Teamsters Local 1224, according to the Post. “Amazon is already expecting delay problems—we know this from UPS and certainly from our own flight problems—and we’re expecting that it’s going to get worse in the next two weeks leading up to Christmas.”
Much of the trouble with delivering holiday shipments on time can be traced back to pilots. Morale is currently low in the industry, with around 33 percent of them actively looking for new employment. Union leaders have pointed to poor working conditions, illness, and fatigue among pilots as key reasons for the industry’s struggles.
Both the shipping industry and the retailers are doing all they can to mitigate the problem. The shippers are beefing up their workforce—UPS, for instance, plans to hire 95,000 temporary workers for the holidays, and they also recently implemented a 70-hour workweek for drivers. As for the retailers, they’re increasingly encouraging shoppers to make store pickups and circumvent the shipping process.