UPS, FedEx forced to rent moving trucks as demand skyrockets

Dec 14, 2015, 4:31 PM | Updated: Dec 16, 2015, 8:48 am
In order to meet the demand of the holidays, delivery services, like UPS, rely on rentals to add to...
In order to meet the demand of the holidays, delivery services, like UPS, rely on rentals to add to their fleets. (MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

Delivery services are feeling the added pressure of a society increasingly making their holiday purchases online, so much so that they are renting trucks from moving companies.

People (even our own staff) have spotted United Parcel Service drivers making deliveries in rental trucks.

“UPS uses rental vehicles in some areas of the country to handle the additional package volume this time of year,” spokesperson Dan Cardillo wrote in an email. “However, the majority of customers will see the familiar brown truck when their UPS driver comes to their door.”

That wasn’t the case for at least one West Seattle resident who called police after seeing a Budget rental truck stopping at homes in her neighborhood. The called 911 after the truck stopped at her house and then her neighbor’s. As it turned out, it was a UPS driver making deliveries, according to the Seattle Police Department.

FedEx also joins the mix when the need arises, according to spokesperson Rae Lyn.

“As online shopping continues to grow, so do the number of packages moving through our global network,” Lyn wrote.

Avis Budget Group provides Budget trucks to “many” local services, according to a company spokesperson.

Related: Trying to find that perfect gift? Check out the Holiday Map.

“Many companies that provide local delivery service experience a spike in deliveries during the time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas,” according to the spokesperson. “From florists and caterers to those delivering items purchased online, and even major delivery companies.”

Due to respect of their customers’ privacy, Avis Budget would not provide exactly how many vehicles it is currently renting out.

The United States Postal Service has added about 125 minivans to its fleet in the Puget Sound region, spokesperson Ernie Swanson said. USPS expects to see an increase of 10-11 percent in parcel business this season.

That 10-11 percent increase is “virtually all online orders,” Swanson said. “The vast majority of it.”

Swanson said there is “a lot of business” coming from Amazon. The postal service is expecting to ship about 6 million parcels around the country.

“We’re gearing up for it and think we can handle it,” Swanson said.

In order to handle that demand, USPS hires part-time employees for the season. And it isn’t just USPS feeling the pressure of online shopping.

So what does all this mean for the bottom line? Unless companies purchase more vehicles, people in the Puget Sound region can expect to see their packages being pulled from less-than-ordinary trucks.

As for the companies sending these packages out, they can expect to see booming holiday business. Amazon, for example, is going to see significant growth this season. Net sales are expected to be between $33.5 billion and $36.75 billion, according to spokesperson Ashley Robinson. Growth could be expected to be between 14 to 25 percent compared with quarter four of 2014.

“We believe this year will be our best holiday season ever,” Robinson wrote in an email.

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UPS, FedEx forced to rent moving trucks as demand skyrockets