Holiday load: UPS sees 11 per cent rise in December deliveries, peaking 3 days before Christmas

ATLANTA – UPS expects to deliver more than 34 million packages on the busiest day of the holiday season, double the amount on a normal day.

The company expects the peak delivery day to be Monday, Dec. 22. Six days are expected to top last year’s single-day record of 31 million packages.

United Parcel Service Inc. said Wednesday that it will handle 585 million packages worldwide in December, which would equal the 11 per cent increase that the company predicted last week.

Rival FedEx Corp. expects a busy holiday season too, with December shipments up 8.8 per cent from the same month last year.

Both companies scrambled last year, adding more seasonal workers than they had planned. After a surge in last-minute online shopping, the companies failed to deliver an estimated 2 million packages — including 1.3 million carried by UPS — as promised by Christmas Eve, according to tracking firm ShipMatrix.

UPS said it will hire up to 95,000 seasonal workers, has opened or expanded 47 facilities to boost capacity, and has worked with retailers to improve forecasting. Last week, executives said they might turn away shipments or impose surcharges on retailers who drop off more packages than expected.

Shares of Atlanta-based UPS fell 40 cents to $102.50 in midday trading. They began the day down 2 per cent in 2014.