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UPS, FedEx push to meet record holiday rush during pandemic

With the holiday rush comes an extra level of protocols and steps to keep both carriers and community members safe.

Posted: Dec 1, 2020 3:13 PM
Updated: Dec 1, 2020 6:47 PM

EUGENE, Ore. – Millions of Americans have decided to shop online for the holidays this year, and package delivery companies are feeling the weight during peak season.

With the holiday rush comes an extra level of protocols and steps to keep both carriers and community members safe.

"Our facilities and vehicles are cleaned multiple times a day, and our employees are required to wear masks in our facilities and our drivers also are when interacting with the public,” UPS Senior Manager of Media Relations Matthew O’Connor said.

Companies such as UPS and FedEx have seen a record number deliveries that need to be made this year, both hiring thousands of workers this holiday season to keep up with the demand.

“We are working closely with our large and medium customers to steer volume to capacity and ensure the UPS network is reliable for all customers, including small- and medium-sized businesses,” O’Connor said. “Strategies for working with our largest customers during this time include helping shift package volume away from the heaviest demand shipping days, to fully utilizing weekend capacity, and aligning promotional strategies with capacity."

FedEx told KEZI 9 News that online shopping and shipping volumes this holiday season are expected to break records.

"The exponential growth of e-commerce, underscored by the COVID-19 pandemic, will continue during the 2020 holiday season, with more packages hitting our network than ever before. We project that peak shipping volumes will be up 22% (year over year) and have been preparing for the influx of packages for months in advance of an unprecedented holiday season," the company said in a statement.

FedEx said that with more than 500,000 dedicated team members, they are in a good position to meet the peak demand. 

"While FedEx is known for its speed and reliability, we encourage our customers not to wait until the last moment to ship their holiday gifts to friends and family, and to shop and ship early this year."

Community members weighed in.

“I’ve mostly shopped online,” Eugene resident Victoria Koch said. “Down to Earth was great. You can order online, and then you could go pick it up. That’s also true with REI. I try to shop local at the small stores to keep them going. The Post Office has been fantastic and the delivery drivers too.”

Eugene resident Jim Westcott has spent time working at the UPS store.

“By this weekend, it'll start to pick up and then keep doubling for the next couple of weeks," Westcott said. "Hopefully people will ship early. The carriers are really burdened right now with volume.”

Eugene resident Amy Picard said her partner has worked with FedEx for over 30 years.

"She had about 103 stops one day," Picard said. "That's what they normally do Christmas week. That was a week before Thanksgiving."

She said there are ways you can lend a helping hand because drivers can run into some challenges.

"Everything hits at once," Picard said. "Not only is it a lot of packages, but it gets dark so early, and the weather is cold and rainy."

Christmas decorations often cover house numbers, making it difficult for carriers to find their destinations.

Also, making a clear path to the doors and leaving your porch light on can help as well.

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