Parcel carriers shone during peak delivery period, firm’s data shows

The nation’s three major parcel delivery carriers posted stellar peak-season performances, aided by perhaps the strongest collaborative effort from their customers since e-commerce became a staple of holiday shopping and shipping, according to data from ShipMatrix, a unit of consultancy SJ Consulting.

UPS Inc. (NYSE:UPS) showed the strongest year-over-year improvement, with on-time deliveries for the six-week period rising to 98.5 percent from 95.3 percent, according to ShipMatrix data. Given that UPS had projected a record average of 31 million daily deliveries, a 3 percentage point gain to near-flawless levels was “huge” and “took a lot of effort,” said Satish Jindel, head of SJ and Ship Matrix. “It is much easier to go from, say, 82 to 85 percent than from 95 to 98 percent,” Jindel said in an e-mail late Friday.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE:FDX) showed a relatively slight on-time delivery improvement to 97.6 percent from 97.4 percent, based on ShipMatrix data. However, FedEx delivered 30 percent of its traffic a day earlier than the original commitment day, Jindel said, indicating its peak-season network was as synchronized as never before. The U.S. Postal Service delivered 98.8 percent of its shipments on time, up from 98.2 percent in 2017, ShipMatrix data. This came despite USPS handling more higher-cube parcels that could have presented handling problems, and the potential disruption to its network as a result of the Dec. 5 off-day to mark the funeral service of former President George H.W. Bush, Jindel added.

The final tallies cap off what has been a strong performance by all three carriers from the start of peak, which Jindel pegged at Nov. 18. Actual volume data from the carriers is not yet available.


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