UPS forecasting record Christmas holiday deliveries
As the holiday shipping season approaches, UPS is ready to handle this year's anticipated volume of more than 585 million packages in December - an 11 percent increase over 2013.
This estimate is included in UPS 2014 earnings guidance. The anticipated 585 million packages, if set side-by-side and based on one cubic ft., would circle the Earth over four times.
UPS expects its 2014 peak delivery day to be Monday, December 22, when the company plans to deliver more than 34 million packages worldwide. Six days are likely to surpass last year's single-day delivery record of 31 million packages. By comparison, UPS delivers approximately 17 million packages on an average day.
Throughout 2014, UPS has been preparing for its busiest shipping season by outfitting 47 new and expanded facilities and installing flexible capacity across its network. Some 15 locations will have modular units - loading doors and connected conveyors configured as stand-alone "mobile delivery villages" - to expand capacity.
Each of these villages can dispatch between 60 and 90 additional vehicles from that centre. The company also added new information technology solutions and processes to improve volume forecasting, network capacity visibility, package status tracking and customer communications.
"Major retailers have chosen UPS to deliver strong e-commerce growth during 2014, as consumer acceptance for online purchases continues to grow steadily," said Alan Gershenhorn, UPS Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. "The holiday season is a major retail sales opportunity for our customers, and we have worked closely with many of our shippers to plan delivery volumes. Our objective is to ensure that all of our year-round business and retail shippers can take maximum advantage of expanded UPS capacity during this important period."
UPS gains two additional operational days during the 2014 holiday delivery period - one added from the calendar and a second (Friday, November 28) that the company added as a full operations day.
"We expect the additional operating days and expanded capacity to smooth out what is expected to be record volume," said Gershenhorn. "UPS also has nearly 50 additional sorting shifts around the country in our hubs and delivery centres to provide the increased processing capacity and flexibility to handle more packages."
Seasonal hiring is well underway and is expected to reach 90,000 to 95,000 workers by late November. Job seekers can apply online for holiday opportunities by visiting UPSjobs.com on their computer, smartphone or tablet.
The company also is collaborating with large shippers to provide them with better visibility into the contents of full trailers loaded by shippers and tendered to UPS for processing. UPS is also using new mobile GPS and trailer-position tracking software to monitor the progress of contractor-hauled trailers that are expanding overall capacity.
UPS technology projects will automate some package sorting this year, while upgraded location tracking capability will enhance the view of packages within its transportation network. These systems feed shipment status data to shippers and receivers who can track their delivery online or through UPS My Choice alerts.
Eleven million consumers use UPS My Choice service to reschedule or reroute their deliveries. In addition to the U.S., the free UPS My Choice service recently was expanded to include Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Puerto Rico, Spain, Sweden Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
After the holidays, consumers can make their returns at UPS Access Point locations during store hours. "Our research shows 68 percent of online shoppers will buy more often when a retailer offers a hassle-free returns policy," Gershenhorn continued. "We've learned that easy returns makes happy customers."
The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts an increase of 4.1 percent in US holiday sales this year. In addition, the NRF expects online retail sales to jump between 8 percent and 11 percent as consumers shift toward e-commerce, which creates higher demand for shipping services.
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.