FedEx Ground expands Sunday delivery

With Amazonprepping to whiz packages to customers at even quicker speeds, FedExhas a plan to step its services up a notch, too.

The company will soon start delivering packages through its ground service seven days a week.

FedEx has long delivered packages on Sundays during the peak holiday season. But next January, it will keep seven-day ground services going year-round for “the majority of the U.S. population,” the company said in a press release this week.

The move comes as e-commerce has overhauled the delivery landscape. Amazon has bolstered its in-house shipment network, threateningtraditional shipping companies like FedEx and UPS.

But FedEx says it’s not all about Amazon.

“E-commerce is much bigger than any one company,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “The average daily volume for small parcels in the U.S. is expected to double — from 50 million to 100 million — by 2026.”

The company is already working with Walmart and Walgreens to provide next-day shipping, and it has a partnership with Target to use stores as local shipment hubs, the spokesperson said.

Door-to-door

So-called “last mile” deliveries, or the trip from a distribution center to a person’s doorstep, have long been a logistical challenge for shippers without the network of hometown post offices like the one run by the US Postal Service.

Amazon, UPS and FedEx have all used USPS to take packages on the final stretch to customers’ doors. But the government-run postal service is in bad financial shape. And all three companies are working on ways to make more last mile deliveries without USPS.

FedEx said that nearly two million SmartPost packages previously given to the US Postal Service for delivery will now be delivered by FedEx’s own ground operations. SmartPost packages are lightweight shipments destined for residences.

The company plans to expand its use of “independent service provider businesses,” which the company says could provide “significant opportunity for the thousands of entrepreneurs who run pickup and delivery businesses.”

FedEx did not say it plans to expand its own workforce.

Just as Amazon has invested in high-tech solutions like drone and robot delivery, FedEx is also testing out automated shipments for last mile delivery.

The company is testing a robot, called the SameDay Bot, in Memphis this year — but it’s not clear when or if the company plans to use it on a mass scale.

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