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Christmas comes early for FedEx

[ December 22, 2011   //   ]

Spare a thought for the guys at FedEx Express this Christmas – the global express company delivered a whopping 17 million packages on its worldwide network on its busiest day of the year, which happened on 12 December. However, in the carrier’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region, the peak days were 19 and 20 December.
As Michael Holt, FedEx’s vice president of northern Europe operations points out, his busiest days are so far in advance of the most frantic days on the high street is because FedEx delivers mainly to businesses – typically into the warehouses of retailers, who then need a few days in which to get goods onto their shop shelves. However, the proportion of home deliveries handled by FedEx does creep up as Christmas approaches. We’re all buying more online; the National Retail Federation says that nearly 50% of shoppers bought online in 2011 compared with only 43% in 2010. “It depends on which study you read,” says Mr Holt, but there is no sign of a levelling off yet.
It’s also impossible to tell, from his position at the sharp end of the industry, whether the financial difficulties of the US and other post offices are doing anything to boost FedEx’s Christmas traffic.
One thing he is certain of, though, is that FedEx’s Christmases are getting busier every year. The busiest day was only around 14m packages a couple of years ago.
Each Christmas peak contains valuable lessons for the following year, and in fact planning for next year will be underway at FedEx even as you read this. “Fortunately, the teams love this time of year,” adds Mr Holt. “They’re seasoned professionals and they enjoy rising to the challenge. It’s hard, but it’s rewarding.”