COVID-19: Service Updates from FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL, & Canada Post7 min read

With people choosing to stay indoors, practicing social distancing, isolation or quarantining, there is likely to be a spike in online shopping. E-commerce giant Amazon has already put up a message warning its customers about possible delivery delays due to a surge in orders.

This article is intended to help you with critical updates from the major shipping carriers about possible discrepancies on the delivery front and also what your business can do to tide over them.

Since at this point, the situation is still volatile and rapidly changing, we will keep a close watch on developments within the industry and update this article as the outbreak evolves.

1. FedEx Corp.

FedEx is facing discrepancies in its services due to the prevailing situation. In its latest service alert, the carrier has stated that due to the high volume of parcels that they are dealing with at the moment, there may be delivery delays all over the U.S.

What You Need to Know

Global Suspension of Money Back Guarantee

FedEx has suspended its Money Back Guarantee for all FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx Office services worldwide. Packages shipped after March 23, 2020 won’t be eligible for a Money Back guarantee.

Temporary Suspension of Signatures

FedEx has temporarily suspended its signature rules for most deliveries in the U.S. except for those that require an adult signature in order to protect customers and workers from getting infected. 

Services for which a signature is not required:

  • FedEx Express (U.S. and Canada)
  • FedEx Ground (U.S. and Canada)
  • FedEx Freight (U.S.)
  • FedEx Office in-store (U.S.)
  • FedEx SameDay City (U.S.)
  • FedEx Onsite Retail Locations (U.S.)

Packages being delivered to and within the impacted areas may face delivery delays.

2. United Parcel Service (UPS)

UPS is facing discrepancies with its services and it’s said that it is continuously reassessing its operations to deal with the situation. 

What You Need to Know​

Suspension of Service Guarantee

UPS has suspended service guarantees on all its shipments originating from the U.S. for both U.S. Domestic and International packages.

Temporary Suspension of Signatures

UPS has suspended the requirement of signatures for most of its deliveries. During a delivery requiring a signature, the parcel is left on the customer’s doorstep with the form to be signed and a sticky note on it by the UPS driver. The driver then retrieves the form after the customer has signed it and is away at a safe distance.

Contactless Deliveries

UPS has also provided a contactless delivery option. This option provides for a customer to ask their UPS driver to drop the parcel at the doorstep or redirect it to another desired address.

3. United States Postal Service (USPS)

The US Postal Service, apart from a few minor operational setbacks, is continuing to operate normally in the U.S.

However, there continues to be a temporary suspension of the guarantee on Priority Mail Express International shipments destined for China and Hong Kong.

What You Need to Know​

Possible Delays

USPS has stated that packages destined to and arriving from China as well as those destined to and arriving from European countries may get delayed due to the travel restrictions currently in place.

4. DHL International GmbH

At this point, DHL has not provided any update on the impact on its delivery services in the U.S. on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. We will update this section as soon as they put out an alert. 

DHL has formed the Deutsche Post DHL Group Coronavirus task force in order to closely monitor and manage the Coronavirus outbreak. 

The carrier has stated that it is coordinating with international organisations to provide the necessary information to all employees on relevant operations.

5. Canada Post Corp.

As on March 19, 2020, Canada Post issued a notice stating it would be suspending On-Time Delivery Guarantees for all parcel services. It also stated that residents and businesses may face slower than normal delivery times.

What You Need to Know​​

To help contain the spread of COVID-19, Canada Post has taken the following preventive measures:

No Refunds for Late Deliveries 

The carrier has waived off refunds for late deliveries, but other service failures like billing errors, incorrect surcharges, and others are still eligible for refunds.

Reduced Hours of Service

Canada Post has reduced the hours of service, opening one hour later and closing one hour earlier to clean, restock and provide some relief to employees. 

Also it has said that for the first hour of each day, it will offer priority service to those who are at a higher risk (the elderly or people with compromised immune systems).

Temporary Suspension of Signatures

In order to avoid close contact between delivery agents and customers, Canada Post will no longer be requiring signatures on normal deliveries. 

However, for items such as Registered, Xpresspost Certified, Proof of Identity, Proof of Age, COD (collect on delivery) and items where custom fees are due, a signature will be required.

Contactless Deliveries

Now delivery agents will drop packages in the mailbox or outside the door if possible and safe to do so. Else, a notice card will be left indicating the post office from which customers can collect their parcels by showing their identity proof.

6. Here’s How Your Business Can be Prepared

With all the changes that COVID-19 is bringing to the logistics industry, it makes it incumbent upon retailers like you to be prepared to deal with the fast-changing situation. 

1.Get your workplace COVID-19 ready

Take every sanitary step possible to ensure the safety of people that work in your organisation. Promote frequent and thorough hand washing, encourage workers to stay home if they are sick, encourage respiratory etiquette, etc.

2.Regularly disinfect your shared elements

Routinely disinfect surfaces, equipment, devices and other elements that are frequently shared among the people in your organization.

3.Prioritize your stocks

Understand what your customers are buying from you and prioritize your stocks so that you can quickly receive, restock, and ship them during demand. 

4.Prepare an emergency response team

Online orders can spike at any time so, in order to deal with the situation, prepare an emergency response team.

5.Inform your customers about possible delivery delays

Notify your customers about possible delays in deliveries on your website or by sending emails or messages.

6.Follow a multi-carrier approach

Have multiple shipping carriers so that you can prioritize between them and deliver your orders efficiently.

7.Build a contingency plan

Plan ahead for scenarios that could affect the bottom line of your business, like unavailability of staff, shipping carriers not operating in a particular region, suppliers not being able to deliver your orders, etc. 

7. How Can Help in This Crisis

We know the times are scary, and we want to extend all the help we can to support you at this difficult time. That’s why we’ve decided to provide our Delivery Experience Management suite for free for now.

With shipping carriers straining to deliver parcels and a high possibility of delays, here are some capabilities of our Delivery Experience Management (DEM) suite that can help you now more than ever in the last mile of parcel shipping:

1.Real-Time Visibility into Shipments in Transit

Monitor all your shipments across carriers, services, and locations unfold in real-time on a single unified dashboard.

2.Purpose Built Dashboard for Your Customer Support Reps 

Empower your Support team with critical insights on a purpose-built dashboard that lets them intervene and fix last-mile issues before customer impact.

3.Send Automated Email & SMS Updates to Your Customers

Engage with your customers in the last mile with timely notifications on their parcel status and show them you’ve got their back.

4.Send Customized Email Updates to Specific Customers

Sometimes, certain parcels need more attention than others. At such times, reach out to specific customers well in advance and allay their concerns.

Additionally, our solution also allows you to provide customers an on-brand tracking experience through custom tracking pages that reside on your domain rather than on the shipping carrier’s.

You can start using these features in less than 2 minutes without the need for any IT/business process change or coding. And the best thing is that is a simple cloud-based plug-and-play solution that can seamlessly integrate with the tools you already use.