Shipment bah, humbug - FedEx, UPS face the delivery music

Dec. 26, 2013 @ 03:25 PM

Ronda Whitaker counts herself lucky this holiday week — late Tuesday afternoon, eight presents for relatives she had ordered earlier this month arrived at her doorstep just in time for Christmas Day.

Other people across the country expecting holiday gift deliveries through FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. weren’t as fortunate. The two global shipping giants spent Thursday ferrying packages that should have arrived before Christmas Day and contending with the negative fallout of publicity from late deliveries during arguably the worst week of the year for it to happen.
Whitaker, a graphic designer, ordered her final Christmas presents from a website Dec. 17 and 18. She was assured that she was ordering in time for a delivery by Dec. 24.
But this past Saturday morning, she received a message from UPS that her shipment might not arrive on time. Alarmed, she followed through on an offer from UPS to sign up for updates about the status of her shipment.
“I ordered a day before the deadline to make it before Christmas,” Whitaker told The High Point Enterprise.
After Saturday when she signed up for the alerts, Whitaker didn’t receive a text or email from UPS providing a status on the delivery.
“Christmas Eve morning, I think that it’s not going to get here,” she said. “Then they got here about 5 o’clock Christmas Eve. I consider myself very lucky because I still got it before Christmas.”
Other customers across the nation who didn’t have Whitaker’s good fortune ignited social media sites with complaints about UPS or FedEx not meeting its commitment to deliver by Dec. 24.
UPS said the inclement weather in many parts of the nation and heavy volume caused the delays.
“UPS is experiencing heavy holiday volume and making every effort to get packages to their destination; however, the volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network immediately preceding Christmas so some shipments were delayed,” UPS said in a statement.
FedEx issued a statement Thursday downplaying the scope of the delivery problems leading into Christmas Day.
“Our 300,000 team members delivered outstanding service during this holiday season, and we experienced no major service disruptions in the week before Christmas despite heavy volume. Every single package is important to us, and we will continue to work directly with customers to address any isolated incidents,” the company said.
FedEx touted its ability to deliver last-minute packages on its website a week ago.
In a posting Dec. 19, FedEx said: “Procrastinators, take note — the last day to ship holiday packages via FedEx Express for delivery before Christmas in the United States is Monday, Dec. 23. For added convenience, FedEx Express station counters will offer extended hours.”
FedEx’s role in delivering packages has a key tie to the Triad. The Memphis-based delivery and logistics conglomerate opened its latest national air cargo hub at Piedmont Triad International Airport more than four and a half years ago. FedEx also operates a regional ground sorting facility in Kernersville north of the High Point city limit.

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528