May 30, 2019 2:15 PM, EDT

FedEx Ground to Deliver Seven Days a Week to Satisfy Online Shoppers

fedexGene J. Puskar/Bloomberg News

FedEx Corp.’s Ground delivery trucks will soon become a familiar sight seven days a week as it is adding Sunday service to residential customers beginning in January.

The Memphis, Tenn.-based company said the move is in part a recognition of the rapid expansion of e-commerce. FedEx has Sunday service during the November-December holiday shopping season to handle the surge of deliveries, but that will be extended permanently after the first of the year.

“Expanding our operations to include Sunday residential deliveries further increases our ability to meet the demands of e-commerce shippers and online shoppers,” FedEx President Raj Subramaniam said in a statement.

FedEx’s decision comes as e-commerce continues to grow. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, consumers spent $517.3 billion online in 2018, a 15% year-over-year increase from 2017.

Less than six months ago, FedEx added regular Saturday service.

Beginning in 2017, Atlanta-based UPS Inc. started Saturday service to 122 metro areas. It has not announced if it would roll out Sunday service. However, in its recently ratified five-year contract with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters there is language that allows for Sunday deliveries.

“We currently deliver only selected, urgent health care or other special deliveries on Sundays. We do not currently deliver general residential e-commerce packages on Sundays, although we have the capability to expand our portfolio should we choose to do so,” UPS spokesman Glenn Zaccara said in a statement to Transport Topics.

FedEx also made another significant announcement that could be damaging to the U.S. Postal Service. The company plans to take over home ground-delivery service to its customers the final mile of an estimated 2 million packages a day. Currently, those items are delivered by FedEx to the local post office and then sent the final mile by USPS.

FedEx said moving those smaller packages out of the postal office and into its Ground network will lower costs.

“We have made significant investments in capacity, technology and automation at FedEx Ground over the past 20 years,” Subramaniam said. “These investments have allowed us to gain ground market share for 19 of the past 20 years, and we are now ideally positioned to extend that growth as the average daily volume for small parcels in the U.S. is expected to double by 2026.”

FedEx also is making changes to its Ground unit systems to accommodate large packages, typically weighing 70 pounds or more. Those items, such as large TVs, furniture and auto parts, often have unconventional dimensions and in some cases must be processed by people instead of running the items through a conveyor system.

These changes include building new facilities, adding new equipment and making operational adjustments.

FedEx Corp. ranks No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America. UPS Inc. is No. 1.