A number of factors are conspiring to tap the brakes on two years of accelerated, pandemic-driven growth in parcel volumes. That means that unlike last year, shippers in 2022 are finding ample capacity and competition for their parcels.
For those who remember the original Monday Night Football broadcast crew of Frank Gifford, Howard Cosell, and Don Meredith, when one team got so far ahead there was no doubt they’d win the game, Meredith would break into that old Willie Nelson favorite “Turn out the lights … the party’s over.”
Well, for the parcel express market, as pandemic-driven demand wanes, the 2022 peak season staggers to a close, and an uncertain 2023 looms on the horizon, that classic lyric seems to have found a new home.
Led by FedEx reporting an unexpectedly large miss in its September earnings call, the nation’s parcel express carriers are adjusting to a new post-pandemic reality. They’re dealing with an uncertain economy, persistent inflation, higher energy costs, shifting consumer spending priorities, and weaker-than-expected e-commerce traffic—all of which are driving slower growth and creating excess capacity.