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Expected Rush on Holiday E-Commerce Spurs Delivery Upgrades, Rate Hikes

Logistics and technology companies are getting ready to deal with what’s expected to be a hectic holiday season for e-commerce.

FedEx Corp. said it’s leveraging the benefits of ongoing strategic initiatives to best position the company for what is expected to be an unprecedented peak holiday shipping season. The company, which delivers to every address in the U.S., has implemented value proposition advancements across the enterprise, including the expansion of FedEx Ground’s year-round Sunday residential coverage to nearly 95 percent of the U.S. population, which will be effective Sept. 13.

“We’re excited to have expanded our e-commerce capabilities even further, including the acceleration of FedEx Ground’s seven-day a week residential delivery, investments in automated facilities and growth in our FedEx Freight Direct service and our retail convenience network,” Raj Subramaniam, president and chief operating officer of FedEx Corp., said.

FedEx Ground, through the addition of new and expanded facilities and other innovative technology solutions, is optimizing its network capacity to meet evolving customer needs. The company has increased capacity with facility investments across the network, including six regional sortation facilities, each strategically located to serve large e-tailers in short-haul solutions.

FedEx package pickup and drop-off services are now available at more than 8,000 Dollar General locations, further increasing its retail convenience network to more than 20,000 staffed FedEx locations. The retail network includes more than 2,100 FedEx Office locations and retailers such as Walgreens, Kroger and Albertsons allowing for easy returns and drop-offs. In addition, the retail network is well positioned to serve as a buy online pickup in store (BOPIS) network for small and medium-sized merchants without brick-and-mortar locations.

FedEx Freight Direct, which offers delivery of heavy and bulky shipments inside customers‘ homes or businesses, is expanding its Standard and Premium service offerings to cover 90 percent of the U.S., effective Sept. 14.

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Pitney Bowes Inc., a global technology company that provides services and products in the areas of e-commerce, shipping, mailing and finance, announced pricing adjustments for its domestic and cross-border delivery and returns services for the peak holiday shipping season.

The pricing changes will be applied as flat, per-parcel adjustments not to exceed $1.50 per parcel.

“Our clients rely on Pitney Bowes to help anticipate and manage their logistics costs,” Gregg Zegras, president of global e-commerce at Pitney Bowes, said. “We don’t take that responsibility lightly and the challenges of the pandemic have not altered our approach to simple and transparent pricing. We have worked directly with our clients to review and revise volume projections and examine the realities of our market.”

While the current expansion of e-commerce has been fruitful for online commerce, it has also created challenges as shipping costs are rising ahead of what is expected to be the largest online holiday shopping season in history, the company said.

Pitney Bowes noted that as major carriers have announced 2020 peak surcharges, many use opaque rules that make precise calculations difficult. This puts e-commerce merchants and shippers in the position of not being able to forecast growing costs during this most critical time of year.

For example, UPS this week announced peak surcharged through the end of the year that vary by country, region, service and weight.

That’s why Pitney Bowes said it went with a flat per-parcel adjustment. To help clients meet unprecedented demand, the company has also expanded capacity, increased staffing, installed highly automated processing and sortation equipment, and strengthened its tracking and data infrastructure in time for peak season.