Why Does UPS Take So Long? (11 Reasons Why)

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Yasmin Fisher

Yasmin Fisher is a fashion-loving shopaholic who has spent the last 10 years in customer service. She loves finding great deals, and thrifting is one of her favorite weekend activities.

Shipping can be a nightmare for anyone. The waiting can be made worse by frustrating delays that seem so commonplace in the shipping industry, regardless of the shipping company.

These delays are so widespread that they’ve entered common knowledge, and you may be wondering why that is!

Why Does UPS Take So Long?

1. Unprecedented World Events

In early 2020, COVID-19 struck the planet in full force after several months of containment in eastern Asia.

This virus impacted global operations in all industries, with shipping companies getting hit the hardest. UPS was not an exception to these effects.

For several years afterward, UPS could not restore itself to full functionality.

Even in 2022, three years after the initial outbreak of COVID-19, businesses everywhere still felt the effects of COVID.

At its height, COVID threw the entire shipping industry into disarray, in some cases delaying packages by up to a month.

UPS and its competitors began having serious issues keeping up with demand, a trend that continued as more issues began to pile up.

These issues included employee deaths due to COVID and a massive global labor shortage unrelated to UPS’ labor issues.

While these delays are undoubtedly understandable, a delay in your shipping is still irritating. Nonetheless, the shipping industry has not fared well!

2. Employees Hate Working At UPS

While the job satisfaction rate is surprisingly high at UPS, many employees take issue with the corporate structure.

Employees report incompetent supervisors and tend to have a less-than-friendly view of the company’s CEO.

Additionally, drivers will often have to deal with irate customers or even unleashed, aggressive dogs.

As delivery drivers, employees’ workdays are often long, working until either 8 PM hits or they finish their route.

While the pay is reported to be good, many delivery drivers quit, saying that the pay is not worth the mental strain or potential loss of life to an aggressive dog.

As such, UPS is frequently understaffed. This understaffing does not even take into account frequent labor shortages.

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3. Labor Shortage

This article has mentioned labor shortages in passing twice now. They are vital to understanding the reasons why UPS is frequently late.

With fewer employees, UPS is unable to make as many deliveries as it needs to maintain efficiency. This can lead to serious delays in the shipping process, making your package late.

UPS’ difficulty maintaining a workforce is entirely unrelated to COVID-related labor shortages, which continued for several years after the initial wave of COVID.

With two separate sources of employee shortages, it’s no wonder UPS deliveries can be so late!

4. Increasing Package Amounts Over Time

As technology grew more advanced and e-commerce grew more commonplace, more packages got sent through all shipping companies.

UPS has felt the force of this increase in volume just as much as its competitors, if not more.

When UPS has to ship more packages, it will take longer to do so, and with volume steadily increasing over time, UPS can only keep trying while attempting to update its infrastructure.

This increase in packages was amplified by the aforementioned COVID-19 pandemic, where people began ordering things en masse while quarantined within their homes.

The massive increase in packages shipped during COVID-19 is the direct reason that UPS frequently struggles to keep up with demand- they never got the chance to return to normal.

5. Late Or Delayed Flights

If you ship a package across the country, it will usually be taken as close as possible to its destination via plane.

Of course, not every package will get an entire plane to itself. It will have to hitch a ride on the plane that lands closest to its destination and then takes a truck or van the rest of the way.

The planning of this process is called ‘logistics,’ a science that rests firmly on the capabilities of shipping planes and vans. Thankfully, these planes and vans are very capable.

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However, issues arise. If you’ve ever taken a flight somewhere, you may know how frequently planes seem to get delayed.

Planes rely on complicated technology to operate, and if any severely inclement weather or obstruction is in the way, a flight may be delayed or downright canceled.

For obvious reasons, a delayed or canceled flight can make packages take significantly longer to reach their destination!

6. Hub To Hub

Hub To Hub

If your package is making its voyage by land, it will have to go through a series of corporate checkpoints known as hubs.

These hubs process and put packages into vans to deliver to their destination or the next hub.

While this can be time-consuming, it’s purely to ensure everything is as secure as possible!

7. Lost In Hubs

Occasionally, packages do get lost in hubs. They may be stuck in a cycle of package-checking, never quite being sent out for their destination.

This is very irritating and can cause serious delays in shipping, but luckily, a phone call should clear it up.

8. Routes Are Based On Fuel Efficiency

Delivery drivers don’t get sent out to deliver packages in random order. The drivers are sent out on specific routes, calculated via computer to minimize the amount of fuel used in a truck.

This means that delivery times may vary.

UPS drivers spend long days in their delivery vehicle, and your house may be as far as halfway up their route, meaning you may not get your package until halfway through the day.

9. Holiday Traffic

If your package is being sent out just before the holidays, it has to compete with hundreds of thousands of packages!

As mentioned earlier, when UPS has to deliver a higher volume of shipping, it may slow down.

During the Christmas holidays, UPS has to handle everything from Christmas presents to Christmas trees and frozen turkey dinners.

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This increased shipping provides a massive strain on UPS, which piles on top of their previous issues.

This issue extends to every other shipping company in the western world. When shipping or expecting a package over holidays, expect it to be delayed

10. Inclement Weather

Much like any other person or group, UPS can not control the weather- they can only work around it. Depending on what region you’re in, the severity of the weather can delay shipping.

In southern states, deliveries can safely be made year-round, save for hurricane seasons or during tornado warnings.

In northern states, UPS delivery may be delayed by severe snowstorms.

Because weather reporting is rarely 100% accurate, inclement weather can cause a sudden and unexpected delay out of nowhere.

11. You Are At The End Of A Route

Ultimately, if your home is at the end of your driver’s route, you may not be reached during working hours.

In these cases, your package will be brought back to your local hub, to be sent out on priority next time.

This will cause a delay, but they work to get your package to you as soon as they can!

To learn more, you can also read our posts on why FedEx sucks, why your FedEx package is not moving, and why your Amazon order hasn’t shipped.

In Conclusion

With all these reasons, you may now see why UPS can take so long! Running a shipping company is no easy task and logistics can be a nightmare to work with.

If you’re sick of UPS, FedEx and the United States Postal Service are two of the most common shipping companies in America, and Amazon is notably reliable.


  • Yasmin Fisher

    Yasmin Fisher is a fashion-loving shopaholic who has spent the last 10 years in customer service. She loves finding great deals, and thrifting is one of her favorite weekend activities.

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