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UPS has its busiest day of the year


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POSTED: Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's been another busy holiday season for UPS, but yesterday—the Monday before Christmas—was the busiest of all for the world's largest shipping carrier.

Atlanta-based UPS expected to deliver about 22 million packages worldwide yesterday, a 40 percent increase from normal daily volumes. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, UPS expects to deliver about 400 million packages around the world, slightly up compared to last year.

“;It's a very busy day for us,”; said Ben Dorado, UPS Honolulu's human resources manager. “;It's just been crazy. The winter storms got us worried we weren't going to get everything on time, but we're happy to say everything did come through.”;

Dorado estimated a 32 percent increase in volume yesterday in Hawaii compared to the usual day, and expects the pace to continue growing until Christmas Eve. A fleet of 160 trucks was out in full force in the state yesterday, delivering and picking up packages.

UPS hired about 50,000 seasonal workers nationally. Locally, Dorado said UPS hired about 600 additional employees for the holidays.

Hawaii has 21 UPS stores, most of them locally owned franchises, like the one run for the last five years by Sonny Pak on Makaloa Street.

Pak was fielding customers with last-minute packages to send yesterday.

UPS offers both next-day and two-day shipping, according to Dorado, although the guarantee was no longer being offered as of yesterday.

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Next-day air service is possible for West Coast deliveries, he said, but the length of time for East Coast deliveries depend on various factors, including weather conditions.

Procrastinators can rely on UPS air services to ship as late as tomorrow for delivery on Christmas Eve.

FedEx, based in Memphis, Tenn., cited Dec. 14 as its busiest day of the year, in which it expected to ship 13 million packages—up 8 percent from about 12 million packages last year.

FedEx has a partnership with the U.S. Postal Service, in which it picks up or accepts shipments and delivers the packages to a post office for final delivery by a postal carrier.

The last day to ship by FedEx Express service is tomorrow.

The U.S. Postal Service also was busy fielding customers with last-minute gift packages yesterday, according to spokesman Duke Gonzales.

“;There was another rush, and it's been busy since last Monday,”; he said.

Customers hoping to send packages to the mainland—if sent by today—likely will reach West Coast destinations before Christmas Day. But deliveries to the Midwest and East Coast can take two days or more, depending on the weather.

While the overall volume for the year has been down, the volume for this holiday season is comparable to last year's, said Gonzales.

Drake Beil was in line at the Merchant Street post office yesterday, with four packages for friends and family in Washington, Colorado and New York.

“;They know it's on the way,”; said Beil, who wasn't stressed out about the wait. “;They (the post office) are pretty reliable, and it's a pretty good deal.”;

Customers also can use the postal service's automated machines, which weigh packages and print out labels for shipping. Many U.S. postal offices will be closed early on Christmas Eve, said Gonzales.

“;Don't wait,”; said Gonzales. “;Get things off as soon as you can.”;

The Associated Press contributed to this story.