The shipping industry is seeing an historic boom this holiday season. Already strained during the pandemic, an influx in holiday shipping and online ordering is overwhelming the system and sparking delays.
According to ShipMatrix, a software company that tracks millions of packages, the shipping industry is handling about 80 million packages a day. They estimate about 2-3 million are delayed.
“There are people who will be calling and complaining and they are correct about it," said Satish Jindel, founder of ShipMatrix. However, Jindel emphasized that there is still time before the holiday and it is likely that packages could be delivered on time.
“They have a track record of working harder as they approach the deadline to not have anyone’s Christmas gift left in the truck," said Jindel.
The United States Postal Service is the busiest shipper this season, according to Jindel. A spokesperson for USPS acknowledged the challenges, but said they are committed to getting packages delivered on time.
"We are so proud of our employees. They are really working so hard to get you guys the holidays on time and we are really hoping that it happens," said Amy Gibbs, a strategic communications specialist for the USPS. “Hang tight. Hopefully you shipped early and you have a little leeway, but again, this year is all about safety.”
The USPS says they have half a million boots on the ground working to get packages delivered on time. They ask that people make sure walkways are cleared for their mail carriers. Most major USPS shipping deadlines have passed, however people do have until Dec. 23rd to send via Priority Mail Express Service.
FedEx is projecting that peak shipping volumes will be up 22% this year. More information on shipping deadlines can be found here.
Small businesses in Connecticut are feeling the effects of shipping delays. Mystic Knotwork has been busy fulfilling online orders. They project online sales are up at least 25% this year due to the pandemic. They set a self-imposed shipping deadline for customers, but are still hearing that there are delays.
“We probably get about 10 calls a day of people looking for their stuff, or just saying their package is not updated. Their package is stuck," said Jill Beaudoin with Mystic Knotwork. "Fielding all of those calls is very stressful. I want people to get their stuff on time and have a happy Christmas because Christmas is going to be hard this year."
Gabriella Suriel, who lives in Waterbury, is having a similar problem. She sells used books online. Most of the packages that she shipped in early December are still "in transit" and "arriving late."
"I know it is coming, but the people who ordered are like, 'it has been 17 days. Is it lost?'” said Suriel.
The small business owners are hoping that, as people wait for their gifts in the mail, they can offer them the gift of patience.
“There is nothing we can do," said Suriel.