The pandemic is fueling an online shopping boom. Package volumes are hitting record levels for couriers like FedEx and UPS. There are so many packages to deliver the companies can’t get enough vehicles to deliver them.
The factories that built delivery vans shuttered during the early days of the pandemic and while they have reopened and are nearing pre-pandemic capacity, they still cannot keep up with the demand for new vans, Bloomberg reports.
In an effort to meet demand, leasing companies for delivery vans are buying vans wherever they can find them. The companies are getting so desperate they’re even buying up used vehicles.
FedEx and UPS both are experiencing a record spike in package deliveries as the pandemic surges right before the holidays. UPS alone saw a 21 percent increase in quarterly volume, the largest increase ever seen by the company. The spike shows no sign of slowing as both companies expect even higher volumes through the holidays, which will put an even greater strain on capacity.
FedEx is offering up a stipend to its contracted service providers for having to rent or lease more vehicles than normal during this period. While FedEx and UPS don’t expect the van shortage to impact deliveries, it may cut into profits and make deliveries more expensive.
Steve Myers, Senior Vice President of Operations for FedEx, said via Bloomberg:
Many of our service providers, especially for the peak season, have pivoted more to the rental market.
So, we work with them on that.
Honestly, while I figured online shopping had spiked during the pandemic, I never really thought about how it impacts deliveries. For UPS and FedEx it’s as if Christmas came in July and yet Christmas is actually yet to come. It’ll be interesting to see what impact this has on shipping rates and times.