[COVID-19] Service Updates from FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL, & Canada Post9 min read

With updates as of July 31, 2020.

With most people staying indoors & practicing social distancing, isolation or quarantining, there has been a spike in online shopping over the past few months. Major eCommerce marketplaces including Amazon have put up messages on their sites warning customers of possible delivery delays due to a surge in orders.

This post is intended to enable 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.

At this point, the situation remains volatile and is rapidly changing. We will keep a close watch on developments within the industry and update this page as the situation evolves.

Read till the end for valuable insights on how your business can navigate these uncertain circumstances.

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, they are facing delivery delays in their FedEx Ground services in various parts of 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 the Money-Back Guarantee.

Temporary Surcharge for International Shipments

FedEx implemented a temporary surcharge on all its FedEx Express services beginning April 6. The carrier has stated that these surcharges are being levied as a result of limited air cargo capacity and escalating costs due to the current constrained environment.

Temporary Peak Surcharges

FedEx has implemented temporary peak surcharges, in addition to existing charges, for shipments that qualify as oversized or unauthorized or which require additional handling. These surcharges have been implemented in order to deal with the surge in residential deliveries and transit of large-sized packages, which substantially escalate operational costs.

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. 

2. United Parcel Service (UPS)

UPS is facing discrepancies with its services and has communicated that it is continuously reassessing its operations to deal with the situation.

What You Need to Know​

Implementation of Peak Surcharges

UPS has applied a peak surcharge to certain UPS Ground Residential and UPS SurePost Packages for packages with U.S. origins and destinations. 

This surcharge is applicable for businesses whose average weekly shipment volume between February 2, 2020 and February 29, 2020 increased by 25000 packages.

The carrier has also implemented a surcharge for overweight packages. This surcharge is applicable for businesses who have shipped more than 500 large packages in the above-mentioned period. 

Large Packages are defined as packages with length (longest side of the package) + girth [(2 x width) + (2 x height)] combined exceeding 130 inches, or with length exceeding 96 inches.

The surcharge has been in force from May 3, 2020.

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 UPS driver will leave the parcel on the customer’s doorstep along with the form to be signed. The driver will retrieve 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 their doorstep or redirect it to another desired address.

3. United States Postal Service (USPS)

The US Postal Service released its latest service update on July 30,2020.

As per its update on April 17, 2020, it changed its service commitments for a few services. 

The service commitments for Priority Mail’s two- and three-day services have been extended to three and four days respectively.

Similarly, for the Priority Mail Open and Distribute (PMOD) service, the service date has been extended from two to five days nationwide, and for the First-Class Package Service (FCPS) two and three-day services, the service date has been extended by three and four days respectively.

What You Need to Know​

Suspension of Refunds

USPS has suspended refunds for items shipped to international countries where their service has been suspended.

Here is the list of all the international destinations which are facing service disruptions and are thus not eligible for refunds.

Safety Measures for Services that Require Customer Signatures

USPS has implemented a few safety measures in order to ensure the safety of both its employees and customers. Following are the safety measures:

  • Employees have been instructed to ask customers to stay at a safe distance or close the screen door/door while they leave the item being delivered in the mail receptacle or appropriate location by the customer door. 
  • Employees are expected to maintain a safe & appropriate distance while obtaining details from customers.
  • Employees have been instructed to avoid areas that may be frequently touched when knocking.
  •  If there is no response during a delivery, employees have been instructed to follow the normal Notice Left process. 

4. DHL International GmbH

DHL has made some temporary adjustments to its time-definite international services due to an increase in the transit time for many international destinations.

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

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

What You Need to Know​​

Emergency Situation Surcharge

Due to the high volume of packages and the impact on the aviation industry, DHL introduced an Emergency Situation Surcharge in early April that was reduced starting July 1, 2020. 

No Suspension of the Money-Back Guarantees

DHL has stated that there is no suspension of its money-back guarantee, which is applicable for its Time Definite services.

No-Contact Deliveries

DHL is offering signatureless deliveries to customers who do not wish to sign via their scanner screen or on paper in order to maintain social distancing. It has temporarily enabled Signature Release for all business-to-consumer (B2C) shipments on its On-Demand Delivery platform. 

5. Canada Post Corp.

As per Canada Post’s latest update released on July 29, 2020, service levels are improving as a result of their parcel volumes reducing due to the reopening of some stores. However, the On-Time Delivery Guarantee for parcels remains suspended.

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.

Temporary Suspension of Signatures

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

However, for items using the Registered and Xpresspost Certified services and those that require Proof of Identity, Proof of Age, and COD (collect-on-delivery) and items which require custom fees, a signature will be required.

Contactless Deliveries

Canada Post 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.

Overview of the service updates from FedEx, UPS, USPS, DHL, & Canada Post

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

Make use of 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 LateShipment.com Can Help in This Crisis

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 LateShipment.com is a simple cloud-based plug-and-play solution that can seamlessly integrate with the tools you already use.