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October 12, 2021 5:30 PM, EDT

UPS, FedEx, USPS Set Holiday Shipping Dates

December 2021 calendar Calendar by alf255/Getty Images

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Though it’s not yet Halloween, delivery companies UPS Inc., FedEx Corp. and the U.S. Postal Service have released their recommended deadlines to ship packages in time for the holidays.

Pandemic supply chain woes have industry experts warning consumers to shop early, but shipping deadlines are relatively consistent with past years.

  • For delivery by Dec. 25 within the lower 48 states, the U.S. Postal Service advises people using its ground service to send items by Dec. 15. Those using First Class Mail and Priority Mail have until Dec. 17 and 18, respectively — one day earlier than last year. The recommended shipping date for Priority Mail Express, Dec. 23, hasn’t changed.
  • UPS advises sending packages within the U.S. by Dec. 21 if using UPS 3 Day Select or as late as Dec. 23 if sent by UPS Next Day Air — the same dates as last year. Ground shipping deadlines vary depending on the package’s route, and UPS advised checking its website for estimated shipping times.
  • FedEx, meanwhile, advised sending packages no later than Dec. 15 if using FedEx Ground and Dec. 22 if using FedEx 2-Day. The deadline for FedEx’s Same Day service is Dec. 24, one day earlier than last year.

Last holiday season, many retailers warned of shipping delays as consumers did even more of their holiday shopping online than usual. The Postal Service, in particular, struggled with delivering packages on time under the weight of historic holiday volume and staffing shortages from COVID-19.

All three package carriers are staffing up for another surge this year. UPS and the U.S. Postal Service have said they plan to hire 100,000 and 40,000 seasonal employees, respectively. FedEx aims to hire 90,000, up from 70,000 last year.

Many of those jobs remain open.

UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp. rank Nos. 1 and 2 respectively on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

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