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E-Commerce Spike Has DHL and UPS Beefing up for Holiday

Surges in e-commerce brought about by the evolution of shopping habits and the social distancing necessities of the Covid-19 pandemic have major delivery companies expanding facilities and their workforces.

DHL E-commerce Solutions, a division of DHL Group, said Wednesday that at the end of the third quarter and throughout the fourth quarter, the company is hiring 900 new distribution center workers to support its growth.

That’s because DHL E-commerce Solutions plans to invest approximately $30 million in 2020 to expand and modernize its operation in the United States. The investment includes purchasing its first fully owned move-in-ready distribution center in the U.S. and temporary distribution center space in Chicago, Los Angeles and Avenel, N.J.

Due to anticipated holiday peak volume increases, the company is also planning to invest in automation equipment.

“It is an extremely proud moment for us to move to our first fully-owned U.S. building, located in Atlanta,” DHL E-commerce Solutions Americas CEO Lee Spratt said. “Our expansion plans have been in the works for some time, but with this year’s consistent surge in e-commerce volumes, we understood the urgency of finalizing our plans to have a permanent home in the Atlanta area and additional space in strategic metropolitan U.S. locations.”

The 150,000-square-foot building, located 20 miles from the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport, has access to some of the main thoroughfares for speedy air and ground parcel transportation. The distribution center will process domestic lightweight parcels. In addition to the new building, the initial investment will include a sorting machine that can process 20,000 to 30,000 parcels per hour.

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“At DHL E-commerce Solutions, we expect to see 30 to 50 percent more e-commerce volumes this holiday peak season compared to last season, so we have made the necessary investments in our footprint, machinery and people to be ready to serve our customers and make this season a success,” Spratt said.

DHL E-commerce Solutions currently has 19 distribution centers and three corporate offices in the United States and Canada, with approximately 3,000 employees. The division is focused 100 percent on servicing B2C online merchants, shipping lightweight packets and parcels domestically and internationally.

UPS also announced this week that it expects to hire more than 100,000 seasonal employees to support the anticipated annual increase in package volume that will begin in October and continue through January.

“We’re preparing for a record peak holiday season. The Covid-19 pandemic has made our services more important than ever,” Charlene Thomas, chief human resources officer, said. “We plan to hire over 100,000 people for UPS’s seasonal jobs and anticipate a large number will move into permanent roles after the holidays. At a time when millions of Americans are looking for work, these jobs are an opportunity to start a new career with UPS.”

The company is filling full- and part-time seasonal positions–primarily package handlers, drivers, driver-helpers and personal vehicle drivers–by offering competitive wages across multiple shifts in thousands of locations across the country. Over the past three years, about 35 percent of people hired by UPS for seasonal package handler jobs were later hired in a permanent position when the holidays were over, and about 123,000 UPS employees–nearly one-third of the company’s U.S. workforce–started in seasonal positions.

Through the company’s Earn and Learn program, eligible seasonal employees who are students can earn up to $1,300 toward college expenses, in addition to their hourly pay, for three months of continuous employment.