December 17, 2010, 2:48 PM

Delivery services expect record volume days this season

Much of the increase is from FedEx’s SmartPost, heavily used by e-retailers.

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UPS Inc. and FedEx Corp. will deliver more than 653 million packages combined this holiday season, but the two leading delivery companies say their peak volume days differ.

FedEx says it already had its highest-volume day on Monday. The company says it delivered approximately 16 million packages, up 12.7% from its peak day last year when it delivered 14.2 million packages. It expected to deliver 63.1 million packages this week, up 9.7% from the 57.5 million it delivered during the same week last year.

FedEx says it attributes more than half of the volume increase to shippers using FedEx SmartPost, a service for delivering packages up to 70 pounds to residential addresses heavily used by online retailers and catalogers. FedEx processes the packages, but the U.S. Postal Service delivers them to consumers’ doors.

UPS says Wednesday, Dec. 22 will be its single-busiest delivery day. The company says it expects to deliver more than 24 million packages that day, about 60% more than normal daily delivery volume. Web traffic to UPS.com also will peak that day. The company says it expects to receive more than 44 million online package tracking requests on Dec. 22.

By the time Christmas arrives next weekend, UPS will have delivered far more packages this holiday season than FedEx. UPS estimates it will have delivered 430 million packages between Thanksgiving and Christmas. FedEx estimates it will have delivered 223.3 million.

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