Closures and safety precautions during the pandemic have exacerbated an already stressed global supply chain, leading to shortages in everything from shipping containers to microchips. And there will be a ripple effect on how quickly this holiday gift can be delivered to family and friends.
As businesses scramble ahead of the holiday season, shipping services have already posted their recommended shipping dates to ensure your packages arrive on time.
The US Postal Service has set deadlines for the delivery of packages before Christmas Day:
- For retail ground service, send packages by December 15th
- First class courier service, sent before December 17th
- Priority mail service, send by December 18th.
- For Priority Mail Express, send by December 23.
UPS also recommends ship packages days to weeks in advance to ensure prompt delivery.
- December 15th is the last day for ground duty,
- December 21 is the last day for UPS 3 Day Select service,
- December 22 is the last day for UPS 2nd Day Air service while those using
- UPS Next Day Air will need to ship items by December 23.
So that national parcels arrive before Christmas Eve, Fedex deadlines understand:
- December 15 for FedEx Ground service,
- December 21 for FedEx Express Saver and 3Day Freight services,
- December 22 for FedEx 2 days AM and 2 days Freight services,
- December 23 for FedEx 1 Day Freight, Overtime, Standard Night Service, Priority Night Service and First Night Service.
- December 24 is the last day for FedEx SameDay, Same Day City Priority and SameDay City Direct services.
A global supply chain crisis plagued by product shortages and delays has led retailers to scramble to keep shelves stocked. Although the supply chain has struggled with weather-related disruptions and closed or slowed ports in the past, Jonathan Gold, vice president of supply chain and customs policy for the National Retail Federation , said the level of congestion during the pandemic was unprecedented.
âIt’s never been as long as we’ve seen it during the pandemic,â Gold said. âUsually it only takes a few weeks and you haven’t seen the disruptions or challenges every step of the way. “
Problems with the global supply chain have also been overdue, according to Nick Vyas, professor of clinical and operational data sciences at USC Marshall School of Business.
âIt goes back 30 years when, in search of cheap products, we became dependent on an area and put all of our eggs in one basket,â he said. âWhen COVID happened we ended up with huge structural shortcomings and we realized that our supply chains weren’t nimble and resilient and here we are in a complete mess. “
Willy Shih, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, said American consumers went on a “spending spree,” in part fueled by stimulus checks, and bought goods rather than spending money. money in services. While August through early November is usually peak spending season as retailers prepare for the holidays, Shih said peak season started in August 2020 and never stopped.
Shih said there were 70 to 80 ships backed up at the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach last week, with some waiting 10 days or more to unload inventory. The ships contained half a million containers full of goods, including furniture, shoes, toys and holiday decorations.
âA lot of these products are at risk of missing the peak sales season right now,â he said.
This means that during the holiday season, there might be delays in delivering gifts and packages on time.
âIt’s going to take longer,â Shih said. âAll the transportation systems in the United States are overwhelmed right now, so UPS and Fedex have already taken steps to try to manage their volumes and they are trying to increase capacity and add seasonal workers, but we have bought a lot of goods and we don’t have enough wiggle room in our infrastructure, things will be late, they will take longer than you think.
President Joe Biden has tried to address supply chain bottlenecks and stranded ships by keeping the Port of Los Angeles operating 24 hours a day. But Shih says that won’t be enough to solve the problem.
âIf the ports are open 24/7, then you have to have truck drivers ready to go there at 2 am to pick up a container and they have to take that cargo to a distribution center that can. accept those goods then, otherwise you really don’t accomplish anything, âhe said. âIf you look at this problem, you should understand that it is a large, complex problem that will take some time to resolve. “
When it comes to holiday shopping, Shih recommends being flexible about what you buy from loved ones this year.
âIt’s unpredictable if you’ll be able to get exactly what you want,â he said. âI think the flexibility of being able to substitute something close can be helpful. If you’re going to order things and ship things early that will definitely help, but ironically so many people advise people to ship early that it creates congestion in itself.
Vyas warns that stocking up on gifts in advance could even have negative ramifications.
âPeople advise everyone to buy early, but because the system is dry, we don’t have enough inventory in the pipeline,â he said. âIf you keep creating demand, you just make the problem worse. My recommendation has been to look for ways to celebrate the holidays and donate things that can make sense. Maybe you take your grandmother’s baking recipe or buy something local that doesn’t have to travel thousands of miles from Asia to get here. Let’s start being creative and take the pressure off the system that is already so shocked.