- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 19, 2001

United Parcel Service expected more than 18 million packages to be delivered yesterday its busiest day of the year. But not all of the brown-uniformed drivers were in their matching trucks.
When the volume is that high, UPS uses ordinary rental trucks usually the yellow Ryder and Penske trucks to get the job done.
"We make adjustments, whatever it takes to get the packages out," said Gina Haesloop, employee-relations manager at UPS.
The trucks are used to carry bulk packages to places such as malls, rather than for individual deliveries in residential areas. The number of rental trucks used is based on the volume in each region.
In the Washington area, where UPS' fleet consists of 1,239 vehicles, about 40 Ryder and Penske trucks were used each day last week. Yesterday, to handle the surge in volume, the company rented more than 65 trucks.
Company-wide, UPS delivered about 35 percent more packages yesterday than on an average business day, when 13.1 million packages are handled worldwide.
"Peak day is truly the Super Bowl of shipping," said Randy Blaisdell, UPS peak-season planning manager.
The company expects to hit its peak with air packages Dec. 20, delivering about 4 million about double that of a typical day.
Atlanta-based UPS, which bulked up its staff for the holiday season, expects to deliver about 325 million packages during the four weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service also are experiencing increases in volume of packages.
FedEx, based in Memphis, Tenn., expects to handle the most packages today, delivering more than 6 million to neighborhoods and businesses. On an average day, the company will deliver more than 5 million packages. FedEx handled 6.2 million packages on last year's peak day, Dec. 18.
FedEx does not break down the number of packages expected to be delivered during the holiday season.
The Postal Service's busiest day this year was Monday, when it delivered between 200 million and 300 million cards and letters. The exact figures won't be available until later this week, said spokesman Mark Saunders.
On an average day, 680 million pieces of mail including cards, bills, packages and catalogs are delivered. Usually, 100 million pieces are cards and letters, but during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas that average escalates to about 150 million.
Despite the anthrax scare, Mr. Saunders says the Postal Service is expecting a strong mailing season, especially because fewer people are traveling.
As an alternative, they are writing more letters and sending more packages. The agency expects to deliver 20 billion pieces of mail between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
"This is our bread-and-butter season," Mr. Saunders said. "The bulk of our income comes during the holiday season."

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