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Behind UPS’s Christmas Eve Snafu – Yahoo

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.

UPS carefully plans how it will handle the holiday peak. Extra resources such as additional cargo planes had been lined up as “hot spares”—company lingo for aircraft that could be fired up quickly in case of a logistics emergency. But it ran into a confluence of factors. Retailers have been encouraging online sales, which have grown much faster than retail sales overall. And retailers likely contributed to the logjam by offering some of their best discounts late in the season in a final push for sales. Many chains dropped prices on the final Saturday before Christmas to levels below what they were offering on Black Friday, according to Simeon Siegel, an analyst with Nomura Equity Research.

UPS glitches could boost U.S. delivery competition – Yahoo

UPS scrambled on Thursday to deliver packages that had failed to arrive in time for Christmas as the No. 1 U.S. ground delivery service sought to limit the fallout from the delays.

The lag in deliveries – which triggered intense criticism on social media – could encourage eCommerce companies, like online retail giant Amazon, to spread their shipping contracts across more companies to lower risk.

The Ample Evidence Behind a Christmas Shipping Surge – Bloomberg Businessweek

The wave of e-commerce that swamped FedEx and United Parcel Service just before Christmas day may have been unprecedented, but it should not have come as a huge surprise.

U.S. consumers offered plenty of hints in recent weeks that they were keen to shop from their couches. Store traffic and spending on and around the Thanksgiving holiday was dismal by many measures. But online shopping on “Cyber Monday” surged 21 percent over 2012 levels, according to IBM.

On a mass scale, that trend should have been evident to any economist or supply-chain consultant willing to zoom out from anecdotal reports and semi-scientific surveys.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal: UPS owes customers refunds for late Christmas packages – Washington Examiner

“The men and women of UPS – as well as the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx – do tremendous work this time of year, putting in grueling, long hours delivering gifts, and we are all grateful for their efforts. It is incumbent upon these companies, however, that when a customer is quoted a delivery date ahead of Christmas, gifts arrive on time.

“I call on UPS to do the right thing and provide refunds to people whose Christmases were a little less cheery as a result of their late deliveries.”