December 20, 2011, 11:49 AM

UPS beefs up for the holiday rush

The shipping carrier adds 400 flights this week.

Lead Photo

Thursday will be the busiest day of the year for UPS, when the shipping carrier will deliver nearly 26 million packages, or almost 300 every second, the delivery service says. Every other day this week until Saturday, UPS expects to ship 25 million packages. This is up 6% compared with the 113 million packages UPS shipping during its peak holiday delivery week last year, says a company spokeswoman.

To prepare for the last-minute rush, UPS Airlines has scheduled more than 400 additional flights per day this week and expects to process 3 million express shipments in a 24-hour period through its Louisville, Ky., facility, the carrier says.

Last-minute shoppers can ship items as late as Friday, Dec. 23, using UPS Next Day Air and have gifts arrive on Christmas Eve, UPS says.

UPS has also launched My Choices, a free service that alerts users with an e-mail or text message the day before a package is scheduled to be delivered.  For a $5 fee, registered members can reschedule or reroute the delivery to a different address or their local UPS store.  

Today is also UPS’s heaviest tracking day all year, as the carrier expects around 58 million tracking requests on, says Nick Costides, vice president of customer technology. That’s up around 21% compared with the 48.1 million requests UPS answered on its heaviest tracking day last year, which was Dec. 22.

At UPS’s two data centers in Georgia and New Jersey, the company plans for months for these type of traffic spikes on, Costides says. To ensure that runs smoothly today and throughout the week, command center teams will monitor system data and turn on and off server capacity as needed.

“Today should be an interesting day for us,” Costides says. “Last year, we had 29.7 million page views on on our busiest tracking day. This year should be higher because as Internet shopping grows, that is reflected in our business.”



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