Logistics and delivery giant UPS Inc. said Tuesday it will expand its parcel delivery service in 2020 to seven days per week in a bid to keep up with surging volumes of e-commerce orders and to match similar full-week service by rival FedEx Corp.
Atlanta-based UPS also said it had established a new subsidiary called UPS Flight Forward and applied to federal regulators for certification to operate drone delivery service for healthcare deliveries of medical samples within the U.S.
The two announcements are part of what UPS called "the most extensive roll-out of new customer services and capabilities in the company's recent history," intended to capture growth opportunities in the strategic markets of small and medium-sized business (SMBs), e-commerce, high-growth international countries, and healthcare and life sciences, UPS said.
The initiative is also designed to drive higher network utilization and profitable growth, UPS Chairman and CEO David Abney said in a release. "Transformation, including technology-driven modernization in our network and technology platforms, is enabling major enhancements to our product portfolio and our customers' experience," Abney said.
Additional expansions announced Tuesday include:
UPS will begin to offer its customers pick-up and delivery services seven days per week beginning Jan. 1, expanding its current Saturday pick-up and delivery services for both residential and business locations and adding new Sunday pick-up and delivery options. The additional pickup day will allow shippers to reach consumers faster with products ordered over the weekend, the company said.
"We will leverage the combination of the UPS Network, UPS Access Point locations, and SurePost in collaboration with the United States Postal Service to efficiently provide these exciting new capabilities," UPS Chief Marketing Officer Kevin Warren said in a release. "Building on an expanded relationship with the Postal Service to help deliver seven day service to our customers makes good business sense."
The news follows FedEx' announcement in May that it would extend its own parcel delivery offerings to seven days a week, also beginning in January. FedEx cited similar reasons for that move, saying it the service would meet soaring demand from the fast-growing e-commerce market.
For its drone initiative, UPS has applied to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to operate flight operations beyond line of sight, at night, and with an unlimited number of drones and operators in command. Working with its partner, Matternet, UPS currently operates drone healthcare deliveries of medical samples at WakeMed hospitals in Raleigh, N.C. FAA approval would allow the company to expand that service to several other U.S. healthcare networks that have expressed interest, UPS said.