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Why Does UPS Take So Long? 

You’ve made an order and UPS is responsible for the shipment.

Yet again the delivery ends up late.

Why does UPS take so long? What is going on for your package to be so delayed

Let’s take a look…

Guide: Why Does UPS Take So Long?

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There are a number of reasons UPS takes so long to deliver a package.

First, we will look at the reasons specific to UPS, followed by the possible circumstances that impact all carriers and cause deliveries to be late.

1. UPS Facility Workforce Shortages

UPS, like many other logistics companies, has been experiencing a shortage of workers due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and now beyond.

A smaller workforce will clearly result in less staff to handle high package volumes, leading to longer delivery times.

2. UPS Driver Shortages

UPS van

In 2019, the American Trucking Association estimated that the industry was short-staffed by 60,000 drivers.

However, it also anticipates that in the next 7 years, the shortage could be closer to 160,000.

UPS has reported difficulty in hiring and retaining drivers in this industry climate. Simply put, your UPS delivery is taking so long because there are not enough drivers.

3. Increased Demand

If you experienced a lot of long UPS delivery times during the pandemic, there is a very good reason.

You along with millions of other people were turning online to buy goods.

UPS saw a significant increase in package volume during this time with a 21% surge in eCommerce packages.

Most importantly, it did not have the staff to cope with demand. The strain on UPS’s operations lead to a much higher rate of delayed deliveries.

4. UPS Processing Delays

If there are delays in processing packages at UPS’s facilities, it can lead to longer delivery times.

For example, if there is a backlog of packages waiting to be sorted, it can cause delays in delivery.

5. Technology Issues

technology grid

UPS relies heavily on technology to track and manage packages.

In fact, it is a carrier that prides itself on being at the forefront of technological advancement within the logistics industry.

CEO, David Abney told The Wall Street Journal that the company is willing to take risks with new disruptive technologies to be a cutting-edge carrier.

We had to be more apt to take on risk and get involved in some of these technologies at an early stage,” Abney said.

With such risks can come problems, however.

Implementing new technology in the network can lead to technical issues or outages, which in the worst of cases, can directly result in late deliveries.

Generic Reasons UPS Takes So Long


As you can see, there are a lot of circumstances that can lead your UPS package to take a long time to be delivered.

However, it doesn’t stop there.

There are several, more generic reasons that cause UPS deliveries to be delayed.

Examples include:

  1. High Volume of Packages: During peak times of the year, like the holiday season, UPS may experience a higher volume of packages to deliver than usual. This can lead to delays in delivery.
  2. Weather Conditions: Extreme weather conditions like snowstorms, hurricanes, and flooding can cause delivery delays as roads may become unsafe to travel.
  3. Distance: If your package is coming from a far distance, it may take longer to arrive.
  4. Traffic Congestion: Heavy traffic and road congestion can also cause delivery delays, especially in urban areas.
  5. Incorrect Address: If the address provided by the shipper is incorrect or incomplete, it may cause delivery delays as UPS will have to track down the correct address.
  6. Security Checks: For security reasons, some packages may be subject to additional checks or inspections, which can cause delivery delays.
  7. Customs Delays: For international deliveries, packages may be held up in customs for inspection, which can cause delays.
  8. Delivery Timeframe: If the shipper has chosen a longer delivery timeframe, it may take longer for your package to arrive.
  9. Failed Delivery Attempts: If the driver attempts to deliver your package but is unable to do so, it may cause a delay as they will have to schedule another delivery attempt.
  10. Technical Issues: Technical issues, such as system outages or malfunctions, can also cause delivery delays.

When you add all of these together, it is sometimes a wonder that a package turns up at the right address on time at all.

Actionable Steps if Your UPS Package is Taking a Long Time?

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Check the Tracking Information

First, check the tracking information for your package to see if there are any updates or alerts. You can track your package on the UPS website or through the UPS mobile app.

Contact UPS Customer Service

If you have concerns about your package delivery, you can contact UPS customer service. They can provide updates on your package status and help address any issues that may be causing the delay.

Consider a Delivery Change

If you’re concerned about missing your package delivery, consider changing the delivery date or time.

UPS offers a range of delivery options, including holding packages at a nearby UPS location or having the package delivered to a different address.

Check for Delivery Exceptions

Occasionally, a package may have a delivery exception due to an issue with the package or delivery address.

Check the tracking information to see if there are any delivery exceptions that may be causing the delay.

Be Patient

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Finally, it’s important to remember that sometimes delays can occur that are outside of UPS’s control.

In these cases, it’s important to be patient and wait for the package to arrive.

Overall, by following these steps you will be able to minimize the total delay of the UPS delivery so it doesn’t take so long.

However, when it comes to carrier services, it can feel like a lottery sometimes… at the end of the day you are at the mercy of the logistical network.

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