UPS says pandemic will not impact shipping times as Christmas deadlines approach

Adobe Analytics expects U.S. online holiday sales to hit over $200 billion this holiday season, which would set an all-time record. Shipping companies like UPS must adapt to handle the increased demand.

Inside UPS’ Lonestar facility in Arlington, Texas, 11 miles of conveyor belts and 3,000 employees are running on all cylinders to get through one of the company’s busiest seasons.

"With the growth of e-commerce, demand is high," said Johnnie Jackson, managing director of sales at UPS.

During the holidays, the company says upwards of 800,000 items are processed at the Lonestar facility. That’s double the amount it would see on a normal day. (FNC / Fox News)

During the holidays, according to UPS, upwards of 800,000 items are processed at the Lonestar facility. That’s double the amount it would see on a normal day. Countless video feeds are routed to a control room where a team can keep eyes on every inch of conveyor belt. 

The UPS hub is the size of 20 football fields, and almost everything inside is automated. Packages that are too large to fit on conveyer belts are placed on autonomous vehicles and transported across the plant.

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"We’re planning to process 5-5.5% more packages in our Dallas facilities over 2020," the company said in a statement. 

Adobe expects a 10% spike in online shopping this year compared to last year. Despite current supply chain and port issues nationwide, UPS says it will handle the influx, and no shipments will be delayed because of the pandemic. The company says this is due, in part, to the company planning ahead.

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UPS has added 49 new aircraft to its fleet since 2017, allowing almost twelve million pounds of extra payload capacity. The company also says it has added over two million square feet of automated centers nationwide in 2021.

"We’re looking to hire 100,000 people — seasonal package handlers and seasonal drivers — to help us deal with this increase in volume," Jackson said.

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The company says it has enough warehouse workers and truck drivers to make it through the holidays. But things get extra busy after the holidays, as people spend money they received as gifts over the holidays. 

"After the holiday season, there’s the rush of returns," Jackson said.

With just over a week left until Christmas, UPS offers some advice: Shop early and ship early.

As for deadlines for shipping gifts to arrive for Christmas Day, UPS says it depends on your location if you're shipping by ground. And UPS has a tool on its website to help sort that out. 

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The final day for overnight shipping before Christmas Day is December 23, no matter the location.

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