Be Prepared for Peak Shipping Season

The temperature may be cooling down as we head into the final months of the year, but shipping volumes are heating up. We’re about to enter peak shipping season! Always the busiest time for the logistics industry, the holiday shipping season can be challenging for some shippers.

For small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) trying to make sure their valuable parcel shipments are picked up and delivered on-time during peak season, preparation is priceless. Your shipping processes need to be more efficient, effective and cost-conscious than ever.

We've put together a list of frequently asked questions to help you achieve just that.

How can I find a carrier with capacity during peak season?

During peak shipping season, it can be difficult to find a carrier with available capacity due to high shipping volumes.

Using a third-party logistics company, which aggregates the combined volume of its customers, gives you a better chance at securing elusive space for your shipments, because carriers are apt to give top priority to their biggest shippers. Worldwide Express does just that for more than 125,000+ SMBs, securing capacity as part of the largest non-retail Authorized Reseller of UPS® services in the country.

How can I make sure my shipment arrives intact?

Two words: package properly! Cutting corners to save time and costs on packaging will never pay off, and can lead to damage, delays and returns. Making sure every shipment is packaged thoroughly and appropriately greatly increases your odds of successful, trouble-free delivery.

How do I set up a peak season shipping plan?

We recommend putting a smart shipping schedule together right away to minimize surprises and give you time to gather needed information and supplies for the busiest months. Map out the detailed steps to your shipping process and review carriers' holiday schedules on their websites as you set up your schedule. As you plan, don't forget to allow time for potential weather-related delays, increased holiday demand and other issues that may arise.

Will I be charged peak surcharges this year?

The short answer is yes. UPS and other carriers add a peak surcharge during busy times of the year — usually between late November and January. We recommend accounting for peak surcharges in your shipping budget.

How can I save money on holiday shipping?

While all carriers will utilize peak surcharges this season, you can do your shipping budget a huge favor by avoiding unnecessary shipping fees. One common charge is the additional handling fee. UPS assesses this fee when your package includes anything that might cause an issue with its facilities' conveyor belts, slides and sorting machines. The only way to evade this fee is to meticulously avoid the following in your shipments:

  • Any article that is encased in an outside shipping container made of metal or wood
  • Any cylindrical-like item, such as a barrel, drum, pail, or tire, that is not fully encased in a corrugated cardboard shipping container
  • Any package with the longest side exceeding 48 inches or its second-longest side exceeding 30 inches
  • Any package with an actual weight greater than 70 pounds

What's my recourse if a carrier suspends their guaranteed delivery and my shipments don't arrive on time?

The best rule of thumb during the holidays is to ship extra-early so your packages have time to arrive on schedule — or allow you to course-correct if it looks like a shipment is facing delays. If you're shipping perishable goods, you should not only properly package your items for transport, but opt for parcel insurance, which can go a long way to making you whole in the event that a delay causes spoilage.

I want to ensure my parcel shipping strategy and operations are in a great place for peak season — who can help me?

This is probably the simplest answer in this whole list: you need Worldwide Express! We have decades of experience solving shipping challenges for tens of thousands of SMBs around the country. We can provide you with a custom, complimentary shipping consultation to make sure your shipping operations are perfectly peak-season ready!