Shipping Problems at UPS and FedEx Delay Christmas Packages

By Scott Mayerowitz

NEW YORK -- Santa's sleigh didn't make it in time for Christmas for some this year due to shipping problems at UPS  (UPS) and FedEx  (FDX). 

Poor weather earlier this week in parts of the country and overloaded systems were blamed for the delays. The holiday shopping period this year was shorter than usual, more buying was done online and Americans' tendency to wait until the last possible second to shop probably didn't help either.

Neither company said how many packages were delayed but noted it was a small share of overall holiday shipments. While the bulk of consumers' holiday spending remains at physical stores, shopping online is increasingly popular and outstripping spending growth in stores at the mall.

"UPS is experiencing heavy holiday volume and making every effort to get packages to their destination; however, the volume of air packages in our system exceeded the capacity of our network immediately preceding Christmas so some shipments were delayed," United Parcel Service Inc. said in a service advisory online Wednesday.

UPS is not making pickups or deliveries Wednesday and plans to resume normally scheduled service Thursday.

Some FedEx customers are able to pick up packages Christmas Day at their local FedEx Express centers.

"We're sorry that there could be delays and we're contacting affected customers who have shipments available for pickup," said Scott Fiedler, a spokesman for FedEx Corp.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, FedEx handled 275 million shipments, Fiedler said. Those that were not delivered in time, he said, "would be very few."

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