Updated May 21, 2020*
(Bloomberg)—United Parcel Service Inc. will begin Sunday pickup and delivery next year, joining competitor FedEx Corp., which announced the move to seven-day service in May.
The two largest U.S. couriers are under pressure to speed up deliveries as longtime customer Amazon.com Inc. morphs into a competitor by building out an overnight cargo-airline service, as well as a ground-delivery network.
UPS said the Sunday service would include SurePost, which are packages handed off to the U.S. Postal Service.
“Building on an expanded relationship with the Postal Service to help deliver seven-day service to our customers makes good business sense,” UPS chief marketing officer, Kevin Warren said in a statement Tuesday.
A five-year union contract approved earlier this year created a new class of driver that gave UPS the flexibility to deliver on weekends. UPS said it’s also starting next-day ground delivery and adding more points for customers to drop-off and pick-up packages, including 6,000 CVS Health Corp. stores.
*As of May 21, 2020, UPS has not yet implemented Sunday pickup, but it does deliver to consumers on both Sautrday and Sunday, according to its Weekend Services page, perhaps due to the spread of the coronavirus halting many companies’ 2020 plans.
Last-mile technology vendor Convey has spikes in ecommerce orders. For the week of April 6-12, shipment volume was up 55% compared with the year-ago week, according to the vendor’s data that is based on 130 retail clients. In fact, every week starting Feb. 10, shipment volume is elevated compared with the year-ago week, with the exception of April 13-19.
The three major shipping carriers, FedEx Inc., UPS and the United States Postal Service, have all dipped in their percent of deliveries that are on-time since the start of March. As of April 14, USPS delivered the most on-time orders at 89.3%, UPS was next at 86.0%, followed by FedEx at 81.7%. All three carriers were around a 90% or higher for on-time delivery rate at the start of March, according to Convey.
Shipping carriers have increasingly cited the coronavirus as the reason for the delay, according to Convey data.