UPS Delivery Truck

UPS Piloting Project To Deliver Less Frequently in Rural Areas

The Business Insider (BI) reports that UPS is piloting a program that will see the carrier deliver on fewer days in some very rural areas.

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While most UPS customers will not be affected by this pilot project, roughly 1% of zip codes in the United States will see a drop in deliveries, except for healthcare shipments, faster air services, and UPS SurePost – which is delivered by USPS.

A UPS spokesperson confirmed to BI that the pilot program exclusively encompasses UPS ground packages. Recipients will continue to see a regular package delivery date on UPS tracking, and businesses in the affected areas have been informed by email.

In other words, the tracking data will show an accurate delivery date, but it will have been adjusted to account for the updated delivery schedule.

BI said that it has learned that customers in rural parts of Arkansas and South Dakota are currently impacted, but the publication suspects other areas are likely on a modified schedule as well.

The reason for this adjustment is clear. UPS wants to save money in rural areas where there are fewer delivery stops and longer distances between stops and by making this adjustment, the carrier can save on fuel and labor versus heavily populated urban areas.

These adjustments do not mean that rural surcharges are going away right now. UPS will continue to charge up to $12 extra per package to deliver in more remote locations.

UPS – Could Lead to Price Reductions

However, the UPS spokesperson confirmed to BI that “[we] are testing a project at a few of our facilities that could help make our service more affordable for our customers.”

One area not mentioned in the article is what UPS would do in the case of redelivery when the shipper requests a signature at the time of delivery. Normally, UPS would redeliver packages the next business day (up to three attempts) before the package is held at the local depot or sent back to the shipper.

If UPS is only delivering every other day, for example, customers may end up having to wait two days before receiving their package. This could impact high-value shipments that shippers insure and require a delivery signature upon delivery.

Since many rural customers may not be aware of this pilot project, this could lead to an increase in customer service inquiries to the online retailer or marketplace seller.

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