Getting your packages delivered in time for Christmas 2017 Holidays Deadline Dec 11, 2017 Sandy Ahluwalia Christmas is an exciting time of year – the snow, the lights, the big family get togethers, the dinners and of course, all the chocolate and dessert that you can eat. Of course, there’s always the excitement of giving a gift to a loved one and seeing their face light up with excitement – provided you can get that gift in time for Christmas. With e-commerce becoming so popular and the huge trend of online shopping, there are a few things you should really know about Santa couriers (ie. UPS, FedEx, Purolator, CanadaPost, etc.)Last day to ship for Christmas 2017Christmas this year falls on a Monday and many carriers do not deliver on weekends. With that in mind, you need to pick a service level that can deliver your packages by Fri Dec 22nd in order for your packages to arrive in time for Christmas. You can also use our shipping rate calculator to get an idea of transit times and costs with a variety of carrier. Here’s a quick summary for major carriers in Canada:Important Note: There are certain conditions that may result in your package being delivered after Christmas. Keep reading below to find out what they are and how to reduce your risk. Last day to ship for Christmas 2017 with Canada Post Last day to ship for Christmas 2017 with Purolator Last day to ship for Christmas 2017 with FedEx Last day to ship for Christmas 2017 with UPS CanadaPost Shipping Deadlines (within Canada)CanadaPost has a page dedicated to indicating the last day you can ship in order to get your packages delivered in time for the holidays. You can find the information here: http://goo.gl/wnu7Uw . Looking at this page and comparing it to the CanadaPost delivery standards, http://goo.gl/3dJ8j1, the concern we have is that the timeframes listed are assuming deliveries to Major Urban Centres, assuming best case scenarios and no service exceptions. We’ve decided to merge and factor in all these transit times. Here’s what your deadlines would look like based on various From & To locations:Suggested Ship Date Carrier DeadlineServiceDelivery StandardDec 19Dec 21Priority1 business dayDec 18Dec 20Xpresspost1 business dayDec 11Dec 13Expedited1 business dayDec 7Dec 11Regular Parcel1 business dayNon-Major Urban Centers (within Canada)Suggested Ship Date Carrier DeadlineServiceDelivery StandardDec 17Dec 19Priority1-3 business daysDec 17Dec 19Xpresspost1-3 business daysDec 5Dec 7Expedited1-11 business daysDec 4Dec 7Regular Parcel1-11 business dayNorthern Regions and Remote Centers (within Canada)Suggested Ship Date Carrier DeadlineServiceDelivery StandardDec 11Dec 13Priority5-8 business daysDec 11Dec 13Xpresspost5-8 business daysDec 4Dec 6Expedited6-13 business daysDec 1Dec 5Regular Parcel7-13 business day Purolator Shipping Deadlines (within Canada) Purolator also has a page dedicated to holiday delivery deadlines (https://goo.gl/4yCsC2), but these are assuming best case scenarios to most central locations (and not remote areas). Comparing it to the Purolator delivery standards, https://goo.gl/ue4LPS, we’ve come up with these deadlines: Most locations within CanadaSuggested Ship Date Carrier DeadlineServiceDelivery StandardDec 19Dec 21Express1 business dayDec 11Dec 13Ground1-? business daysRemote locations within CanadaSuggested Ship Date Carrier DeadlineServiceDelivery StandardDec 14Dec 19Express2-3 business daysDec 6Dec 11Ground1-? business days FedEx Shipping Deadlines (within Canada) FedEx’s holiday shipping schedule can be found here: https://goo.gl/FhzQfD. They don’t account for ground on this page, but they do recommend you visit their rates and transit time page to confirm for all service levels. Again, best case scenario is assumed on all of these services. General delivery standards for express can be found here: https://goo.gl/qMgiqN and for ground here: https://goo.gl/b6eoaP.Major locations across CanadaSuggested Ship Date Carrier DeadlineServiceDelivery StandardDec 19Dec 21First Overnight1 businessDec 19Dec 21Priority Overnight1 business dayDec 19Dec 21Standard Overnight1 business dayDec 15Dec 202Day1-2 business daysDec 13Dec 18Economy1-3 business daysDec 11Dec 14Ground1-7 business days UPS Shipping Deadlines (within Canada) Major locations across CanadaSuggested Ship Date Carrier DeadlineServiceDelivery StandardDec 18Dec 21Early AM1 businessDec 17Dec 21Express1 business dayDec 17Dec 21Express Saver1 business dayDec 13Dec 20Expedited1-2 business daysDec 8Dec 14Standard (Ground)1-7 business daysFactors affecting on time holiday deliveriesThe times in transit shown by the carrier are assuming best case scenario, or rather, don’t account for common situations beyond their control. Here are a few to think about:Christmas Holiday shipping volumeWith e-commerce becoming so popular and the trend towards online shopping, for a variety of reasons such as convenience or price, carriers are yet again seeing record number of shipments moving through their delivery networks. UPS is hiring up to 95,000 new positions and FedEx is hiring 50,000 just to handle the peak season volume and that’s still not enough to handle it all.. We’re seeing major slowdowns out of Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal with delays of up to 3-4 days over the originally scheduled delivery time. Some carriers have had to get the sales reps and managers on the road to help handle the massive load of packages. We suggest shipping your packages at least 2 business days sooner. When carriers are forced to choose which package should be delivered, express services are always favoured over ground services. This makes sense as you’re paying a premium to get your packages delivered faster. If you’ve left your shopping or your shipping to the last minute, it might be worth using an express service just to be on the safe side. What can you do? - Ship a day or two in advance- Use an express service levelWeather and conditions beyond the carrier’s controlDelivery times listed by the carriers never include any weather delays or other conditions beyond the carrier’s control. This time of year can bring snow storms, freezing rain, fog. All these conditions can easily add a day of delay to your shipment. What can you do? Shipping a day or two in advance is pretty much the only thing you can do.Delivery Address on our shipping labelWhen you create your shipping label, ensure that your address is complete. Ringer/buzzer numbers, suite numbers, or incorrect addresses happen often. Not only will this incur an extra fee, you’ll automatically have your packaged delayed by 24-48hrs. At this time of the year, we expect the delay to be closer to 72hrs – so three days of delays. If you’re reusing a shipping box, you’ll want to ensure you have removed any previous shipping labels on the box. Conflicting addresses could cause packages to be held or delivered to the wrong location.What can you do?- Ensure your address is correct- Ensure you have the suite # (if applicable)- Ensure you have a buzzer code (if applicable)- Make sure you have 1 unique address label on the outside of your packageReduce risk of lost packagesThe biggest reason that packages are lost is because the shipping label has come off. This is especially true for items that are shipping in plastic boxes, duffle bags, wooden crates. Using a proper strength cardboard box can not only save you any additional handling fees that require the package to be sorted by hand, but it has the lowest risk of being lost due to the label coming off. Of course, there is still a chance that label can come off so we always recommend you include an “in case found” label inside your box. This label should include the destination address and tracking number for your shipment. You can print a second shipping label but make sure you write VOID in big and bold to ensure it isn’t used. See our shipping and vacations article to understand why this important. What can you do?Include an “in case found” label inside your box containing Destination Address & Carrier Tracking NumberPackage wellThe carriers expect you to meet a minimum packaging standard. This standard is called the ISTA 3A packaging standard. To very quickly summarize, the standard requires you to provide 2” of padding between each item within the box and 2” between the items and the outside wall of the box. There are so many packages that are going through the carrier’s delivery network this time of year that packages undergo quite a bit more bumps in the road compared to normal. We can’t stress enough how important packaging is. If the carrier notices that your package is damaged (i.e. perhaps it is leaking wine or something is protruding out), the carrier may discard the broken item and continue the delivery once they’ve had a chance to repackage the goods. What can you do?- Ensure 2” of padding between each item within the box- Ensure 2” of padding between the items and the wall of the boxSummaryGetting your package delivered in time for the holidays is tricky, especially if you’ve waited until the last minute. This year is expected to be even more difficult as volumes are in record numbers. Follow these recommendations and you’ll significantly increase your chances of having your package delivered in time for the holidays and with fewer problems:- Ship 2 business days sooner than the carrier’s deadline- Ensure the destination address is correct and complete (suite number, buzzer number, etc.)- Include an “In case found” label inside your package- Ensure 2” of padding between each item within the box- Ensure 2” of padding between the items and the wall of the box- Use our rate and carrier comparison tool to find the best option for you About the author For the last 10 years, Sandy Ahluwalia has been heavily involved in the shipping industry. He has helped businesses with all their shipping needs from light weight courier packages to 100,000 lbs freight requiring multi-mode transportation. In his spare time, he likes to eat, read, play squash, visit friends, travel, and simply enjoy life. About Secureship Secureship® offers an online service that helps businesses and organizations ship more efficiently and affordably. Providing instant price shopping across multiple carriers, Secureship is the best choice for reduced rate shipping. In addition, Secureship offers benefits such as a consolidated shipping system regardless of the carrier you choose, built-in address book, convenient invoicing and shipment management. Visit our shipping estimate tool to see how much you can reduce your shipping expenses.