December 15, 2010 in Business

Flood of holiday shipments fills growing FedEx facility

By The Spokesman-Review
Christopher Anderson photo

A never-ending conveyor belt of packages gets sorted for delivery by Alan Migala, left, and Angela Bowyer on Tuesday at the FedEx distribution site in Spokane. “We run out of hours before we run out of packages” said manager Charles Blatner.
(Full-size photo)

Still time to ship

Although this week is the busiest for both UPS and FedEx, there is still time to meet the Christmas deadline. The last day for guaranteed FedEx ground service delivery is Friday. Procrastinators can choose pricier options like FedEx two-day shipping until Tuesday, Dec. 21, or overnight service through Dec. 23. UPS expects its busiest day on Dec. 22, when it will move about 24 million packages – 60 percent more than a normal day. The Atlanta-based company will accept packages for Christmas delivery through Dec. 23.

Associated Press

Charles Blatner said he does not know if Monday was the busiest day ever for FedEx, but the senior manager for the Spokane terminal knows it’s busy.

The facility in the Spokane Business and Industrial Park has been adding people and trucks to keep up with the expected increase in holiday-related traffic, Blatner said, adding that shipments are tracking about 10 percent higher than normal volume.

He said Spokane FedEx relies in part on drivers, some with other jobs, who return every year for the four- to five-week crush. Others hope to catch on full time, he said.

FedEx has projected an 11 percent jump in Thanksgiving-to-Christmas traffic in 2010, which translates into about 223 million shipments through its international ground and air operations.

Blatner, who has managed the Spokane terminal since 2002, said daily traffic has increased enough to justify an expansion. The work is expected to be complete in June, he said.

“We’ve increased the capacity of our building fairly substantially,” he said.

The terminal serves an area up to 20,000 square miles, about twice the size of the state of Vermont.

Despite the traffic volume, Blatner said FedEx very seldom works on Sundays, even during a season like that of 2008, when snow at times made many streets impassable.

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