Oct 19, 2020 - Economy

Chaos looms as biggest U.S. shipping companies prepare for holiday rush

Pallets with mail-in ballots at a USPS center.

Pallets with mail-in ballots at a USPS center. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

If you rely on last-minute holiday shopping, 2020 won't be your year.

Why it matters: America's biggest shipping companies are out of excess capacity, and that's before the holiday rush.

  • "The capacity shortfall could average as much as seven million packages a day between Thanksgiving and Christmas," the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: This goes beyond your Amazon orders — many stores might dial down their Black Friday offerings because they've been running leaner on merchandise since March, the N.Y. Times notes.

  • Call it "Shipageddon," as a Retail Geek podcast noted earlier this month.

Other efforts to meet the surge:

  • Amazon moved Prime Day up to October.
  • FedEx moved to seven-day-a-week pickup.
  • High volume retailers will be charged bigger fees.
  • Stores are pushing customers to buy online and pick up in stores.
  • USPS will change its priority to holiday shipping after the election rush.

The bottom line: “Consumers should be prepared for deliveries to take extra days no matter which carrier is delivering their parcels,” ShipMatrix President Satish Jindel told the Journal.

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