Due to COVID-19 and social isolation orders across the country (and around the world), ecommerce has exploded in recent weeks. Shippers like USPS and FedEx have seen an incredible uptick in packages, even as they practice social distancing in their own facilities, which has slowed down deliveries significantly in many cases. Here’s what you can expect in terms of shipping times as the nation begins to resume normal activities.
Why Shipping Times Have Increased
Stay-at-home orders across the country have resulted in a huge increase in online shopping. Not only are consumers continuing to buy things online in the way they always have, but many are now buying their necessities – groceries, household goods, pet food, and more – via the internet. As a result, UPS, USPS, DHL, and FedEx are busier than they have ever been. In some cases, more than double the usual number of packages are passing through hubs, and it’s taking a toll on their operations.
It’s easy to forget that in order to move parcels across the country in a single day, dozens upon dozens of drivers and hub workers must come together to keep the packages’ progress seamless. This is difficult, particularly when social isolation guidelines are in place requiring workers to stay six feet apart (at a minimum) and wash their hands more frequently, all while processing more packages now than ever.
What You Can Expect
With many states across the country easing up on their stay-at-home orders and allowing businesses to reopen in controlled waves, it is expected that shipping times will eventually return to normal, but it may be a few months before that happens. Even as retail shops reopen their doors, many are finding it difficult to keep high-demand items on the shelves. Manufacturing facilities have also been affected by the pandemic, and many are at half output while still others have completely closed their doors. It may take some time before these manufacturers are able to ramp back up. In the meantime, consumers will continue to rely on the internet for the things they need the most.
With most businesses slated to reopen completely by fall 2020, it is expected that shipping should return to normal by this time, as well. In the meantime, carrier delays will slowly start to resolve as more people find the things that they need on retail store shelves once again. There’s no exact timeline, and there’s still a lot of uncertainty. Regardless, companies nationwide – including order fulfillment providers and the shippers themselves – are working hard to make sure everyone has what they need.
Though things may be returning to normal, it will be a relatively slow process, and that means that “normal” may not return for months. Delays in shipments caused by a major influx of parcels through the shipping services could stick around for a while, but it is expected that they will slowly resolve as manufacturing facilities begin to restock store shelves and consumers feel safer about leaving their homes to shop for their everyday needs. In fact, many industries continue to thrive despite these delays, and they are expected to continue to grow.