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Customer worries about retail supply chain issues this year may actually help to ease the usual seasonal crunch for parcel carriers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Alongside other factors including added capacity, extra mail delivery days, and vaccine availability for workers, a rise in customers doing early shopping and buying in-store is expected to help carriers such as FedEx, UPS and USPS with Christmas volume.

In the US in particular, recent supply chain disruption has led to a shortage in raw materials and consumer goods, as ports have been unable to cope with surging imports as the economy has rebounded after the COVID-19 pandemic. As in Europe, there has also been a shortage of truck drivers.

Earlier this month, following talks with industry executives, President Joe Biden pledged that shelves would be stocked and customers would be able to buy the goods they wanted this Christmas.

Christmas shopping has started early

Every year, however, carriers strongly encourage their customers to book as early as possible for Christmas deliveries to help ease congestion at the busiest time of year. E-commerce growth in particular has sky-rocketed in recent years, which only accelerated during lockdowns, and carriers have often struggled to meet seasonal demand.

In response, UPS even switched its business focus to “better, not bigger”, last year placing shipping caps on its largest retailers to ensure quality of service.

However, for carriers, the message to customers hasn’t changed. FedEx warns shippers and shoppers not to wait, as there’s still a shortfall between capacity and demand, even if it’s less than previously anticipated.

COVID-19 also remains unpredictable, as do adverse weather conditions.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Are you sending a parcel this Christmas? Take a look at our seasonal shipping information for advice on getting ahead of the crowd, as well as a list of last shipping dates from carriers.

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