Shipping companies warn of holiday rush

December 12, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Both UPS and FedEx expect Monday to be their busiest day for shipping. For at least one of them, Monday could be a record breaker.

Most of the things shipping today were online purchases, and some shipping ahead of time were doing so because of travel.

Two weeks ahead of Christmas, FedEx predicts to break a forty year record, processing 17 million packages nationwide on Monday. That is double a regular day, much of that due to customers shopping and shipping online.

In suburban Hodgkins we visited the UPS Chicago area consolidated hub, where they expect to see 2.4 million packages through the facility Monday.

Their biggest shipper, Amazon, has more than 80,000 packages coming through here daily this time of year.

Sue Erklin had one thing to send today, but did most shopping online this year.

"This year, it was great because there was so much free shipping and so many deals, and with my email it would pop up that there was a deal here and I just went on," said Sue Erklin. "It was very convenient this year."

The UPS Store in Indian Head Park expects to be increasingly busy the next two weeks. The store's co-owner, Sue Balich, suggests shipping before next week.

"They should ship it out definitely by the end of the week," said Balich. "If they want it to get to places like California and Florida, you need to give them some time to do it."

"My gifts are bought wrapped and sent. Done. Done," said Karen O'Halloran. "Yeah, I'm very excited - it's a big relief.

The FedEx Office next to Ogilvie Transportation Center downtown was taking packages from commuters who had wrapped gifts over the weekend.

They also see suburbanites shopping downtown who want to ship without lugging the merchandise home on the train.

"They can do shopping downtown and just on their way the trains they have an opportunity to stop here and let us pack up certain things for them and get their gift shipped off," said Lisa Harris of FedEx Office.

For those who have yet to ship or even shop, married man Bill Hardbak offered some practical advice.

"I went shopping with my wife yesterday," said Hardbak. "She a very picky, so I go out with her - she tells me what to buy her, and we get it all done at one time."

Shipping deadline details

For those who still need to ship, here are some important dates for delivery before Christmas:

U.S. Postal Service express mail packages need to be sent by December 22nd. First class mail should be sent by the 20th.

The last day to send by UPS is December 23rd via Next Day Air.

FedEx Ground needs to go by December 16th. FedEx Express can be sent as late as December 23rd.

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