UPS Inc., the nation's largest transportation company, projected an 8-percent increase in daily volumes during its pre-holiday peak period, despite 2013's being the shortest holiday shopping season in 11 years.
Atlanta-based UPS said it expects to pick up more than 34 million packages globally on Dec. 16, which will be its peak pickup day. UPS said it will deliver more than 29 million packages on Dec. 17, its busiest delivery day. On so-called "Cyber Monday," set for Dec. 2, UPS's pickup volume is predicted to rise 10 percent to 32 million pieces. UPS said there will be five delivery days within the 2013 peak season where it will surpass its peak day in 2012.
There are only 26 shopping days this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, six fewer days than in 2012, making this the most compressed holiday period since 2002. That is because the Thanksgiving Day holiday this year falls on Nov. 29, which is later than usual.
To handle the increased volumes, UPS said it will hire 55,000 seasonal employees across the U.S. to work as drivers, helpers, package sorters, loaders, and unloaders. On normal business days, UPS delivers about 17 million packages across its global network.Yesterday, FedEx Corp., UPS's chief rival, said it expects to see its busiest day in company history when it moves more than 22 million shipments around the world on Cyber Monday. The estimated volumes would represent an 11-percent year-over-year increase, FedEx said.
During its busiest week of the year, Dec. 1 through 7, FedEx expects more than 85 million shipments to move through its global networks, a 13-percent increase over last year's busiest week. A large portion of those volumes will come from e-commerce transactions funneled through the company's delivery networks.