2018 Holiday Shipping Deadlines and 10 Important Dates to Remember

The holiday season is rapidly approaching. Every year, UPS, FedEx, and the U.S. Postal Service hire seasonal workers to help ensure that parcels are delivered swiftly to recipients. This year, UPS is expected to hire 100,000 additional workers to handle deliveries, an increase of roughly 5% over last year's addition of 95,000 workers. FedEx and USPS also hire seasonal workers to help handle increased activity during the holidays. Despite these staffing additions, not all parcels will reach their intended recipients on time. You can help prevent this pitfall by remembering key shipping deadlines and getting a head start on your shipments.

What are the most critical holiday shipping deadlines to remember? 

USPS, FedEx and UPS outline the exact shipping deadlines for their operations on their websites. However, if you ship items on a regular basis, it can be helpful to have a condensed timeline of the key shipping deadlines for each carrier. Below is a list of the delivery cut off times for UPS, FedEx and USPS:

  • December 10th: FedEx SmartPost

  • December 14th: FedEx Ground, UPS Ground, and USPS Standard Post

  • December 17th: FedEx Home Delivery

  • December 18th: UPS 3-Day Select

  • December 19th: FedEx Express Saver

  • December 20th: USPS First Class Mail, USPS Priority, FedEx 2-Day, FedEx 2-Day AM, UPS 2-Day Air, and UPS 2-Day Air AM

  • December 21st: FedEx First, FedEx Priority, and FedEx Standard Overnight

  • December 22nd: USPS Priority Mail Express and UPS Next Day Air

  • December 25th: FedEx same day

  • December 26th: All carriers are closed

What should you always keep in mind when shipping packages during the holiday season? 

Despite the addition of tens of thousands of temporary package handlers, it is impossible to fully prevent delivery delays. There are always extraneous factors that can influence the shipping process and cause delays. Here are three key considerations to keep in mind when shipping items during the holidays:

1) The weather can cause shipping delays

Mother Nature is known for coating the roads with snow and ice during the holiday season. Floods, heavy snow, and ice can create dangerous conditions for truck drivers and pilots. Delivery delays are inevitable and cannot be prevented in these cases. The best way to plan for this type of delay is to plan in advance and get your shipments out early. Do not wait until the last minute to ship your parcels.

2) Incorrect or incomplete addresses can delay your shipment

Every year, there are thousands of parcels that are returned to senders due to incorrect or incomplete addresses. Fortunately, this pitfall is easy to avoid. Make sure you double check your address prior to sending your parcel. Also, remember that UPS does not deliver to P.O. Boxes. FedEx also has some restrictions on delivery to P.O. boxes, so make sure to check with your selected carrier before providing a P.O. box as a delivery address.

3) Carriers may have difficulty accessing some properties

Sometimes carriers are unable to access a delivery recipient because an access code is required to enter the property. In other cases, there is no one available to sign for the parcel or receive it. And sometimes protective pets present a threat to carriers who are unable to approach a home or business without risk of being attacked. Before you confirm your shipping address, make sure that carriers can easily access your recipient's property.

For more tips on preventing holiday delivery delays, we invite you to contact us at CTL Global Solutions. Our team of logistics experts have the knowledge and resources to help you successfully plan your holiday shipments. We look forward to hearing from you!




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