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This year has two extra shipping days, which contributes a few percentage points to the increase. UPS includes the last week of the year in its holiday forecasts because of the growth of returns, gift card activation and inventory replenishment during this period, the company says.
"The dramatic growth of online shopping and subsequent returns is expected to lift UPS package levels to a record high during this upcoming holiday period," said Kathleen Gutmann, senior vice president of Worldwide Sales and Solutions for UPS. Average daily package volume for UPS rose 5.7 percent in the third quarter, more than double the 2.5 percent growth from the previous period.
UPS has opened 15 new or expanded hub facilities across the U.S. and is hiring 95,000 seasonal workers. It is also installing mobile delivery villages and adding thousands of delivery car positions to support its expanded ground delivery fleet during peak season.
FedEx is saying its peak demand will set a record, without providing a specific number, with each of the four Mondays between Thanksgiving and Christmas being among the busiest in the company's history. The USPS, meanwhile, is projecting a double-digit increase in holiday parcel volume. Dec. 22 is projected to be the busiest delivery day for the USPS.
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