UPS preparing to deliver 800 million holiday packages

United Parcel Service is preparing to deliver nearly 800 million packages during the holiday season this year, as more consumers turn to online retailers to complete their shopping lists.

The package delivery company expects to deliver more than 30 million packages on 19 of 21 operating days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Chief Operating Officer Jim Barber said on Wednesday during UPS’s third-quarter earnings call. On its busiest day, UPS will handle 37 million packages globally. Last year, UPS delivered a worldwide total of 750 million parcels.

In order to avoid delays during its peak season, UPS is hiring 100,000 seasonal employees, expanding capacity and coordinating with major retailers – who represent 80 percent of the volume surge – to forecast demand, according to Barber.

UPS has invested heavily in new technology and package hubs to handle the increase in volume from e-commerce shipments. Barber said UPS is opening 22 new or retrofit automated facilities around the world, and it boasts seven times more processing and sorting capacity compared to last year. UPS also has added six 747-8 and three 767-300 jets to its fleet.

The company has also raised prices. UPS registered 4.8 percent growth in domestic revenue per piece during the third quarter, the strongest number since 2011.

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UPS earned a profit of $1.51 billion in the latest period, or $1.73 a share. That compares to $1.26 billion, or $1.44 a share, in the same period a year ago. On an adjusted basis, UPS posted a profit of $1.82 a share, meeting Wall Street’s expectations.

Revenue grew 8 percent to $17.44 billion, slightly below the consensus forecast of $17.46 billion.