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Shippers Experiencing Holiday Delivery Challenges

A record-breaking surge in online purchases this holiday season is leading to delivery delays across the US.

Unfortunately for last-minute shoppers, the delay problems are expected to get even worse in the final weeks leading up to Christmas, according to one airline pilot.

“It looks like the next three weeks are going to be challenging, particularly with serving Amazon,” Robert Kirchner, a pilot for Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings and executive council chairman of the labor union Teamsters Local 1224, told The Washington 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.”

Delivery companies are feeling the pressure after Cyber Monday sales soared 17% over last year, for an estimated $6.6 billion in online sales, making it the biggest online shopping day in US history.

Read: Did Black Friday & Cyber Monday Tax Your Logistics Transportation Management Operations?

Black Friday and Thanksgiving Day also generated strong online sales of $5 billion and $2.9 billion, respectively.

UPS said last week that the deluge of online purchases during Cyber Week resulted in package delays of one or two days. The company’s delivery drivers have been working overtime – as many as 70 hours over eight days – to clear the backlog of packages.

UPS told the Post that it has since returned to the “peak operating plan.”

“The vast majority of packages will be delivered in accordance with the service commitments for the specified time-in-transit,” a UPS spokeswoman told the Post.

Here are the last days to ship for delivery by Christmas:

Dec. 15: Ground
Dec. 19: Express Saver
Dec. 20: Two-day
Dec. 21: Overnight shipping deadline

United Parcel Service
Dec. 18: UPS 3 Day Select
Dec. 20: 2nd Day Air
Dec. 21: Next Day Air

U.S. Postal Service
Dec. 14: USPS Retail Ground shipments
Dec. 19: First Class
Dec. 20: Priority Mail
Dec. 22: Priority Mail Express
Alaska: Deadline for First Class and Priority Mail shipments is Dec. 20; Priority Mail Express is Dec. 21.
Hawaii: Deadline for First Class and Priority Mail shipments is Dec. 15; Priority Mail Express is Dec. 20.

The nation’s three biggest shipping companies expect to deliver record numbers of packages this holiday season.


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