Joyous Holiday Season Shipping: Ho, Ho, Oh Crap

One of the fun stories coming out of the Joyous Holiday Season was the number of packages that were guaranteed to be delivered by Christmas that, you know, weren’t. From The Wall Street Journal:

The bottleneck was largely in UPS’s air business, which retailers leaned on heavily in the past week as they scrambled to fill down-to-the-wire orders. UPS has a bigger share of retail e-commerce business than FedEx Corp., but its smaller fleet of cargo planes might have been a limiting factor, people in the industry said. UPS said it had added 23 extra chartered aircraft to its year-round operating fleet of more than 237 planes and regular 293 daily charters. FedEx owned 581 and leased 66 as of May 31.

This has lead to a number of online retailers, including Amazon, having to issue gift cards and credits to disappointed customers. Amazon, of course, is not pleased about this, and issued the following statement to The Denver Post:

“Amazon fulfillment centers processed and tendered customer orders to delivery carriers on time for holiday delivery,” said Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako. “We are reviewing the performance of the delivery carriers.”

If I were UPS and FedEx, I’d be freaking out right now… As MG Siegler points out, it is unlikely that Amazon could outright buy either company. But until Amazon has their fleet of delivery drones swarming the sky, dropping our packages from the air, there is an interesting possibility available to them: extending their already-existing partnership with the United States Postal Service that was announced last month. From USA Today: unveiled a new partnership with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver online orders from the world’s largest Internet retailer on Sunday for the first time.

The service started this weekend in the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas and Amazon plans to expand it to a large portion of the U.S. population in 2014, including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix.

The revenue generated by taking on the shipping needs of someone like Amazon, who ships a bazillion packages a day, could help stave off the USPS’s potential bankruptcy, and create a pants-crappingly bad situation for the companies who had been eating the USPS’s lunch for the past few years.

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