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Parcel carriers made good on peak delivery commitments, ShipMatrix says

The nation’s three leading parcel-delivery carriers performed well during the peak holiday shipping season, aided by programs to expand delivery capacity and flat year-over-year consumer demand, a leading consultancy said Thursday.

According to ShipMatrix, which has tracked peak-season parcel delivery activity for years, UPS Inc. (NYSE: UPS) hit its delivery commitments 97.5% of the time between the Black Friday holiday and Christmas Eve. FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) came in at 95.2% and U.S. Postal Service at 94.3%.

The carriers’ performance was better than in 2021, when capacity was tighter and demand much stronger, ShipMatrix said. UPS hit its delivery commitments 96.9% of the time, and the U.S. Postal Service came in at 96.5%. FedEx, whose ground-delivery unit struggled with worker shortages at its hub operations, brought up the rear at 88.2%.

The Arctic cold blast during the final days of the peak cycle caused 10 million parcels to not arrive by Christmas Eve. However, those volumes are not included in the performance figures because the delays are considered to be out of the carriers’ control.

The carriers delivered more than 3 billion parcels during the 2022 peak period, about the same as in 2021, according to ShipMatrix. 

Delivery levels in the 2022 peak season improved due to carrier investments in more capacity. In addition, consumers didn’t buy as many goods online in 2020 and ’21 as they returned more to stores and spent more on services.

ShipMatrix also noted that consumers were also constrained by higher inflation, which impacted their disposable income.