UPS Just Sent This Major New Warning to Customers
The shipping company has made some significant changes to some of its operations.
Whether you're awaiting your latest Amazon order or expecting a letter from a long-distance friend, we heavily rely on postal services. But like many sectors, the Postal Service and shipping companies have had to make changes to their services over the past two years to combat the COVID pandemic and ongoing shortages. Unfortunately, these problems are far from over. The United Parcel Service (UPS) is now warning about a potential issue with delivery and shipments due to a significant policy chance. Read on to find out what the company is getting rid of, and how it could affect your packages.
UPS has suspended several services in China.
UPS has put a halt to some of its operations in two southern Chinese cities, Reuters reported on March 16. According to the news outlet, the company has suspended all pickup, delivery, and self-pickup services in Shenzhen and Dongguan after both cities imposed strict restrictions to curb the spread of COVID.
Restrictions are being thrown back into place as China is facing its worst COVID outbreak since early 2020, The New York Times reported. According to the newspaper, cases increased to more than 5,000 new daily infections nationwide on March 15. And while that is still lower than in many other countries, China has imposed a zero-tolerance approach to outbreaks that calls for strict lockdowns, mass testing, and government-facility quarantines.
UPS is warning that shipments within the country could now be delayed.
But it's not just Shenzhen and Dongguan, which are both cities in the Guangdong Province. According to Reuters, multiple Chinese provinces have tightened their COVID restrictions in the recent days. As a result, UPS has also started holding imported shipments in provinces such as Fujian and Jiangsu for longer than usual. The company said it will set aside these imports for a specific number of days to sanitize. The transit time for shipments may be extended and packages could be delayed because of this, UPS warned.
Packages to the U.S. could also end up delayed.
China's new COVID lockdowns and restrictions will not only have an impact on Chinese shipping operations. According to Time magazine, Shenzhen is home to around half of all the online retail exporters in China. Wang Xin, the head of the Shenzhen Cross-Border E-Commerce Association, told the magazine that China's strict lockdown in this area is bringing significant disruption to the production and delivery of goods sold online to other countries, from major online retailers like Amazon and Walmart.
"Shenzhen now has pressed the pause key, with operations halted for almost all sectors, and we are no exception," Wang said in a March 14 interview, adding that recently sent deliveries have also been impacted because logistics firms and warehouses are either not operating or doing so at a reduced capacity.
Amazon said it is working to divert its shipments to other warehouses that aren't in lockdown areas, but Walmart did not respond to questions about potential delivery delays. "We do not anticipate a significant disruption to our business," Maria Boschetti, an Amazon spokeswoman, told Time.
FedEx is also changing its operations in China.
UPS is not the only shipping company planning changes as a result of the new lockdowns and restrictions in China. FedEx is also having to make adjustments to its network, the shipping company told Reuters in an email statement on March 16. But it has not yet detailed what those changes are.
UPS and FedEx have been working in tandem recently: On Feb. 27, both companies released statements announcing that they would be suspending all deliveries into Russia in light of the country's continuing invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported at the time. UPS and FedEx have also both chosen to suspend inbound and outbound delivery services in Ukraine due to the increase in military activity in the country.