UPS faces its busiest delivery day in history on Monday. An analyst says, it and FedEx are better prepared after last year's debacle. Fred Katayama reports.
Three days to go before Christmas, and the rush is on: UPS will deliver on Monday more packages than any day ever - some 34 million. It and rival FedEx have hired more workers and invested hundreds of millions of dollars to avoid last year's chaos when many shipments didn't make it under the Christmas tree in time due to bad weather and a late spike in shipments. UPS' $500 million investment includes automated sorting systems that can tackle bad weather by automatically rerouting packages. It also eliminates the need for staff to memorize over 100 zip codes, boosting efficiency, it says, by 25 percent. UPS also set up several mobile delivery centers that allow it to add capacity in busy locations. FedEx has bolstered its contingency plans so it can swap between trucks and planes, and it has invested in more fuel efficient planes and scanners that see six sides of a package at once, according to the New York Times. Behind the surge in shipments: the explosion in online orders from consumers. And the pressure on the couriers mounts as retailers offer last-minute online shipping deals. Goldman Sachs analyst Tom Kim has said, "We are more upbeat about this season: improved demand outlook, earlier standard shipping cut-off dates, and better preparation by carriers."