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An inside look at UPS Worldport

I ran across an interesting piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this morning that talked about holiday season happenings at UPS Worldport air tra...

Freddie Pierce
|Sep 27|magazine6 min read

I ran across an interesting piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution this morning that talked about holiday season happenings at UPS’ Worldport air transportation hub in Louisville, Ky. The story talked about some interesting trends being seen in the shipping and air freight industry today.

According to UPS Package handler Andrew McFarland and operations supervisor Nick LaBarbera, more and more packages are moving via air freight, particularly in the clothing and entertainment market. Those two market segments combine to form a huge part of holiday season shipping.

LaBarbera commented that the number of bulk shipments has continued to increase over the past several years, but that big-picture shipping trends can be difficult to keep track of.

“It’s kind of spotty,” LaBarbera told the AJC.

UPS Worldport employees are also witnessing the boom in e-commerce firsthand, as the worldwide logistics provider makes about 35 percent of all of its deliveries to homes.

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That shipping explosion is coupled with an increase in traffic of next-day packages. Worldport Wing manager Michael Armendt commented that the UPS shipping hub sent more than 1.27 million packages through the system the Tuesday after Labor day, and 966,000 on a mid-September weeknight.

Both figures were an increase over where Worldport was last year.

“Everything I’ve read says the economy is getting worse by the day, but it doesn’t seem to be really translating here,” Armendt told the AJC. “People seem to be shipping quite a bit.”

Thankfully, the UPS shipping hub has the capacity to move 416,000 packages per hour thanks to its state-of-the-art automated systems. To help with its holiday season rush, UPS plans to hire hundreds of temporary workers in the coming months.

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