Entries in Shipping (7)


Postal Service Considers Cutting Into Alcohol Shipping Business

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As the U.S. Postal Service faces $15 billion in losses this year as fewer people send mail, one of the ways it hopes to raise money is by shipping alcohol.

Private carriers have been shipping alcohol for decades, but the postal service is prevented by law from engaging in the same business.

On Thursday, Postmaster General Patrick Donahue said he hopes the agency can deliver alcoholic beverages and thereby raise $50 million a year.

Private shipping company UPS offers wine shipping services for customers who are licensed to ship wine. Smaller shipping firms, like Premier Wine Shipping, which services much of California wine country, would face stiff competition from the postal service’s typically lower rates.

The company ships over 600 cases of wine each week from its three locations in St. Helena, Sonoma and Healdsburg, Calif.

Tony Aguilera, general manager for Premier Wine Shipping, said, “A small business like us — with the post office being four or five buildings down — it is going to take a lot of our customers, depending on their prices and their reliability.”

Aguilera has initial concerns about the U.S. Postal Service’s ability to ship wine safely.

“There have been plenty of times when they’ve lost packages of mine and there’s really no way track something in the same way as UPS and FedEx,” he said.

Premier Wine Shipping picks up wine from more than 80 different locations in Napa and Sonoma counties, then outsources shipping to FedEx. Premier Wine Shipping also offers pick-up and delivery to customers’ homes.

Last year the Senate passed a postal reform bill that included a provision allowing the delivery of alcohol. The bill requires compliance with any laws in the state of origin and the destination.

A spokeswoman for the postal service said most people know the agency doesn’t accept alcohol for mailing. The post office’s standard operating procedure even states packages “bearing” alcoholic beverage markings and/or labels must be returned to the mailer and not be forwarded to the addressee.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Christmas Shopping: How to Get Free Last-Minute Shipping Deals

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The cut-off for free shipping on most online sites was Tuesday, Dec. 18.  But there's still some ways you can finagle free rush shipping on last minute holiday gifts to make sure they arrive before Christmas Day.

Some of the biggest online retailers are still offering free last-minute shipping:

  • Barnes & Noble: Free shipping on Nook HD through Dec. 22.
  • MacMall: Free two-day shipping on orders over $299 and under 25 lbs. through 6 p.m. PST Dec. 22.
  • Macy’s: Free shipping on orders over $99; order needs to be placed  by 11:59 p.m. EST Dec. 20.
  • Free shipping through the end of the month, but must place order by Dec. 22 to receive by Christmas.
  • Newegg: Free two-day shipping on over 200 items.
  • Target: Free shipping on Daily Deals.
  • Victoria’s Secret: Free shipping on orders over $100 using code “SHIP12.”  Order by 5 p.m. EST on Dec. 20.
  • Zappos: Free shipping for all items with guaranteed Christmas delivery if ordered by 11:59 p.m. PST Dec. 22.

And the biggest online retailer, Amazon, has a limited set of items available for free expedited shipping.  The items include jewelry, watches, clothing, video games, laptops, headphones and kitchen items.  But if you need something that’s not on this limited list, consider Amazon Prime.

Amazon Prime is a yearly subscription service.  In exchange for a $79 fee, you get free two-day shipping all year long.  And yes, that also applies at Christmas (must order by 3 p.m. EST Dec. 22 to receive on time).  You can try the service free for six months.

If you have a family member who already belongs to Prime, they can nominate up to four people for the same free shipping benefits.  Prime members nominate someone by going to their account, clicking “settings” and “manage Prime membership.”

Also, Amazon Student is a free six-month membership to Prime with all the benefits, providing you have an email address that ends in .edu.

But you don’t have to limit yourself to Amazon. also offers free two-day shipping, though the membership service costs $8.95 a month.  The site has tons of participating online retailers like ToysRUs, Sports Authority, Claire’s, PetSmart and EMS.

Finally, the best last-minute option for many is to ship to store.  You peruse all the options from home, pay online and then pick up your selection at your local store.  Tons of big retailers offer this service, and it guarantees your item will be in stock and waiting for you at customer service.

Major retailers offering free Ship to Store include:

  • Best Buy
  • Target
  • Toys R Us
  • Walmart
  • Sears

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FedEx to Ship Record 19 Million Packages During 'Busiest Day'

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- FedEx is gearing up to move 19 million packages Monday on what it says will be its "busiest day in company history."

The Memphis, Tenn.-based shipping company says it will have 300,000 team members and about 20,000 seasonal workers on hand to process more than 200 packages per second.

The anticipated record volume is a direct result from an increase in online shopping during the holiday season, FedEx says.

“At FedEx, we have been preparing for this busy holiday shipping season for almost a year now,” T. Michael Glenn, executive vice president of Market Development at FedEx, said in a statement last Friday.  “The spirit and drive of our team members, backed by the efficiency of our networks, will help us deliver what we expect will be a record-breaking 280 million packages through our global networks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, up 13 percent from 2011.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Walmart, Amazon Roll Out Same-Day Delivery for Online Orders

Ryan McVay/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Just in time for the holiday shopping season, two retailing giants are gearing up for same-day package delivery for goods purchased online.

Walmart to Go is being test marketed in several cities across the country.  The service was first rolled out in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.’s Virginia suburbs.  Now, it’s set to expand to Minneapolis and then to parts of northern California.

Walmart’s move comes weeks after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said his company is aiming for same-day delivery in major metropolitan regions.  The moves are part of a growing rivalry between Walmart, the biggest brick and mortar retailer, and Amazon, the number one online firm.

Walmart to Go will cost $10 per shipment regardless of the size of the order, and has to be ordered before noon for delivery from a local store on the same day.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Record Holiday Gift Returns Create Shipping Wave

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- With robust holiday retail sales comes the inevitability of a mountain of returns, and Tuesday is the biggest day for shipping firms to handle that tsunami of unwanted items. Some retailers are even easing their online gift return policies.

According to commScore, people spent $35.3 billion online for the holiday season as of Dec. 28, a 15 percent increase over the same time period last year.

Consumers spent about $44 billion at retailers just in the week ending Dec. 24, a 14.8 percent gain over the same week last year, according to ShopperTrak.

The National Retail Federation estimates holiday gift returns will total a record $46.3 billion in 2011, up 4 percent from the previous year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Will Your Last-Minute Christmas Gift Be Delivered in Time?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As the countdown to Christmas continues to wind down, late shoppers are still scrambling online, placing last-minute orders with the hope that their gifts will make it in time for the holiday.

Many of these procrastinators buy into retailers' promises of guaranteed Christmas delivery if you order by mid-afternoon, two days prior.  But how is this even possible?

Stores, such as Urban Outfitters and Saks Inc. are betting their reputations on the muscles and wits of workers like Vinny Plateroti, a UPS delivery driver who is part of a global team that delivered 300 packages a second on Thursday.

"The onset of the Internet really changed the way we do business because a lot of people ordering online, lots of companies offer free shipping there by Christmas Eve," Plateroti said.  "Many many people take advantage of that -- myself included."

If you are paying for your own freight, brace yourself -- that last-minute shipping charge could cost more than the gift.  To send a five-pound package from New York to Los Angeles on Dec. 23, UPS and FedEx both say they will deliver it by Christmas Eve, but you'll pay upwards of $140 in shipping.

For a gift to ship via UPS from the retailer to your home, the package will ride on a couple of the company's 549 jets.  It will be scanned around 23 times, while it rides some of the 155 miles of conveyor belts in UPS' monster hub, based in Louisville, Ky.  Eventually, the package will catch a final lift on one of the 93,736 UPS delivery trucks buzzing around the globe.

But all the horsepower, jet power and computing power means nothing if bad weather kicks in, shutting down airports or turning roads to ice.  On a night such as Thursday night, where a blizzard has torn through the Rockies and the Midwest, a tornado was spotted in Georgia and high winds have rocked California, the hopes and dreams of children everywhere to have presents delivered in time to open Christmas morning rest on the shoulders of one man -- Jim Cramer, a UPS meteorologist.

When a weather alarm goes off in Cramer's workshop in Louisville, thousands of people have to adjust schedules, staffing and sorting stations.  This Christmas, Cramer said, everyone seems to be in good shape to get their packages on time from UPS this year.

"Our prediction is very good," he said.  "Rain for most of the East.  There will be snow in the Northeast, but north of where we land our jets, so I think our packages can get to where they are going."

However, weather watchers at FedEx have a setup that rivals the National Hurricane Center, and they have issued a warning that winter storms in Colorado could cause package delays out West.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Beware of Holiday Package Snatchers

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(YONKERS, NY) -- Especially during this time of the year, thieves are on the lookout for packages that have been left at doorsteps by delivery companies or the post office.

Yonkers, New York-based Consumer Reports has offered some tips to avoid having your holiday packages swiped.

First, choose a shipping option that requires a signature before a package can be left, or ask that the package be left with a neighbor or sent to your office.

It is also recommended that you track your package online and purchase insurance if the item is valuable.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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