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UPS Inc. rolled out a series of services in a Jan. 29 announcement aimed at improving delivery options for small businesses and middle-size businesses, including an extension of weekend operations.
The parcel delivery company said it would expand Saturday and Sunday operations, preparing for what the carrier said would be an anticipated doubling of weekend delivery volumes in 2020. UPS said weekend network enhancements will expand residential and commercial Saturday volumes by reaching an additional 40 million U.S. consumers.
Atlanta-based UPS offers Saturday package car pickup of all service levels and Saturday commercial delivery. The company also said commercial pickups by contract are offered on Sunday.
We are continuing our transformative roll-out of innovative new services and solutions, squarely focused on the needs of our customers, especially small and medium-sized businesses. Click here to learn how we're helping SMBs grow and compete.— UPS (@UPS) January 29, 2020
Because of the expanded times, UPS said it now reaches 98% of the U.S. population, up from 85% when announced in mid-2019. The expanded service enables shippers to process online orders later in the evening for local next-day ground delivery, offering faster speed to market.
The growth in services is not just because of e-commerce, Juan Perez, chief information and engineering officer, said in an interview with Transport Topics on Jan. 29. The services also will mean health care companies can move goods during hours once not covered. But a large part is indeed e-commerce, Perez said.
“There’s no doubt about it,” he said. “Consumers are ordering later [in the day]. This gives our customers the opportunity to have late pickups.”
Perez said the later pickups on any of the seven days can happen as late as midnight. UPS Ground can in most cases get the package to the consumer the next day, within 150 miles, he said. The expansion of services takes place within the UPS global network, Perez said, and it will comply with existing contracts that UPS has with the Teamsters union.
“In 2019, UPS launched more new services and operational innovations than in any year in the company’s recent history,” Chairman and CEO David Abney said in a statement. “We are demonstrating further bold action in 2020 as we embrace market trends, invest for growth, partner for added reach and develop unique capabilities using next-generation technologies.”
UPS ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.
The company said it will add processing capacity globally at 20 new or remodeled, highly automated, data-driven facilities in 2020. The projects will add more than 5 million square feet of new automated sortation globally, well ahead of the 2020 holiday season, UPS said.
That will include $1.4 billion for facility enhancements in Pennsylvania. One of the plans is to include a new “superhub” in Harrisburg, Pa., along with “highly automated” package operations in Carlisle, Lehigh Valley and Philadelphia, the company said. The new centers will create more than 1,700 new jobs. UPS said it will be announcing more facility expansions in the near future.
“Companies of all sizes throughout the Northeast will benefit from UPS’ latest global network transformation initiatives,” said Perez, who told TT that the Harrisburg hub was vital to reaching Northeastern markets.
UPS said it is more than halfway through a three-year investment in global network enhancements. When the investment cycle is complete, new automated facilities will improve productivity by up to 35% when compared with manual processing in older sites, UPS said. By the end of 2021, nearly 100% of eligible packages in the UPS network will be sorted with automated technologies, the company said.
UPS also said it would add about 1,500 Package Express Centers to the UPS Access Point Network. The package centers support the needs of consumers and businesses through a network of independent retailers such as hardware stores and grocery stores in about 1,500 cities and towns nationwide, UPS said.
UPS workers at a sorting facility in San Francisco. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News)
The UPS announcements come as e-commerce and final-mile delivery demand heat up in 2020, driven by big online retailers such as Amazon.com.
On Jan. 22, FedEx Ground launched year-round Sunday deliveries for its residential FedEx Home Delivery service for the majority of the U.S. population, according to parent company FedEx Corp.
The Memphis, Tenn.-based carrier said the change will help the company better serve the fast-growing e-commerce market.
“We have increased our speed advantage significantly to kick off the new year,” Raj Subramaniam, FedEx president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “This provides added value to e-commerce shippers throughout the U.S. and the 188 million online shoppers in 7,700 cities and towns where FedEx Home Delivery packages are delivered on Sundays. As more customers expect weekend delivery, this enhancement to our network means that every day is now a delivery day at FedEx.”
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