US Mail, Shipping Carriers Overwhelmed For the Holidays

US Mail, Shipping Carriers Overwhelmed For the Holidays u.s. postal trucks are parked side by side United States Postal Service trucks (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

By Charlie McCarthy | Wednesday, 16 December 2020 06:40 PM

Mail and parcel delivery during the holiday season is taxing US carriers, according to data.
An estimated six million packages are being left stranded daily as they await pickup, according to ShipMatrix, a software company that helps retailers and others track shipments. Another 2.5 million packages are being picked up but not being delivered on time.

CBS News.com reported FedEx, UPS, Amazon, US Postal Service, and other shippers are all being slammed by the demand, heightened by on-line consumer activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our entire industry is underwater because of the demand," said Satish Jindel, president of ShipMatrix, who added Friday likely will be the deadline for consumers to expect items to arrive by Christmas.

Some experts already have warned that packages not mailed yet will not reach their destination by Christmas using standard shipping.

The situation could slow the US economy recovery from the pandemic.

Another industry source told CBS MoneyWatch the number of packages not being picked up daily is far exceeding those in past years.

FedEx and UPS declined to disclose how many packages were being delayed in transit, according to the report. A UPS spokesperson said 96 percent of shipments had arrived on time — but that figure does not include packages not picked up.

"This is one of the most successful peak holiday shipping seasons ever as we focus on maintaining a reliable delivery network that all of our customers can depend on," a UPS spokesman told CBS MoneyWatch in an emailed statement.

A FedEx spokesperson warned against believing the ShipMatrix data.

"Data provided by third-party consultants can vary widely based on the specific markets, customers and shipping lanes they choose for their analyses," the spokesperson said.

FedEd said the company's role in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine is not affecting regular shipments because the company is using a separate fleet of vehicles and airplanes for that endeavor.

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