FedEx predicts record volumes during holiday season

FedEx is predicting record volumes this holiday season, driven by surging e-commerce shipments. The company said today that it expects to handle 17m shipments – almost double its normal daily average – at the peak expected on December 12. After last year’s 15.6m peak on December 13, FedEx said it was expecting this year’s peak to be the busiest day in company history.

A 10% year-on-year increase in shipment volumes will be led by its residential shipping partnership with the US Postal Service – FedEx SmartPost. The service particularly caters to e-commerce and catalogue sellers, with FedEx picking up and sorting items for USPS to provide final delivery through its last-mile network.

Growth is also expected to come from FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery services.

Between Thanksgiving on November 24 and Christmas, FedEx said today it will handle more than 260m shipments worldwide, an expectation that would be 12% up on last year’s holiday season when 232m shipments flowed through the FedEx network.

Much of the extra volume is expected to be clothing, consumer electronics and books.

Frederick W Smith, the FedEx chairman, said: “As e-commerce continues to grow and demand increases with more customers shipping and conducting their business online, FedEx SmartPost is poised to handle the increase in shipments.”

FedEx said its expectations for growth were based on forecasts from the retail sector for a 2.8% increase in sales in the United States, and a continuing shift of buyers to electronic retail. National Retail Federation statistics suggest that this year will see 46.7% of shoppers buying online, compared to 43.9% seen last year.

In the three months to the end of August, FedEx SmartPost has already seen a 29% year-on-year increase in its average daily volumes.

FedEx is planning on bringing in 20,000 extra seasonal workers to handle the surge in volumes, meaning it will have more than 290,000 staff on hand to “deliver the holidays”.

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