This year’s holiday shipping season could be busiest ever, union rep says

Business News

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — The holiday season is just weeks away, and some postal carriers are offering advice: get your shopping and shipping done early.

It may seem a little soon, but Matthew Maini, a business agent with Local Teamsters 251, said the holiday shipping season has already begun.

“Peak season starts Oct. 1 and ends Jan. 15 for UPS,” Maini said.

The pandemic changed how people shopped, according to Maini, and it seems like that trend will continue.

“We thought we would see a slope in the numbers, they would go down, they would go back shopping … that hasn’t happened,” he explained. People are buying more and more goods through their cell phone or apps or their iPads rather than going to a store.”

And when it comes to getting your packages to their destinations: “We’ve prepared. We’ve gotten equipment, we’re gotten new railways, new airline flights coming in, so we can move work faster,” Maini said.

On peak day in Rhode Island last year, Maini said UPS made about 172,000 stops. This year, he believes they could top that.

“We’re estimating UPS peak day upwards of 215,000 – 220,000 stops in the state of Rhode island,” he said.

According to Maini, rates will stay the same and there will be no extra fees or charges for shipping.

But that’s a different story when it comes to the United States Postal Service. The USPS has temporarily increased shipping rates for both businesses and retail customers through Dec. 26.

Temporary price increases for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express, Parcel Select Ground and USPS Retail Ground are as follows, according to a news release from USPS:

  • PM and PME Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes – $0.75
  • Zones 1-4, 0-10 lbs.  – $0.25
  • Zones 5-9, 0-10 lbs. –  $0.75
  • Zones 1-4, 11-20 lbs. – $1.50
  • Zones 5-9, 11-20lbs. – $3.00
  • Zones 1-4, 21-70 lbs. – $2.50
  • Zones 5-9, 21-70 lbs. – $5.00

All other retail shipping services:

  • First-Class Package Service – Retail – $0.30

FedEx is encouraging online holiday shoppers to buy early and ship early. Communications advisor Rae Lyn Rushing released a statement to 12 News, saying:

“FedEx continues to navigate operational challenges due to constrained labor markets, increased package volume and the ongoing pandemic. We are taking bold action in order to provide the best possible service to our customers. We’re accelerating our efforts to bolster capacity, which includes a laser-like focus on people, facilities and technology.   We strongly encourage all customers planning on shopping online for the holidays to shop early and ship early! We’re also actively working with merchants to help ensure they’re ready.  We are sharing tools to give shoppers more control over their deliveries, solutions to help simplify the returns process and tips to help merchants keep their business on track.”

UPS, FedEx, and USPS are all hiring for the holiday season.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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