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Shipping to Rural Areas May Take Longer as UPS Cuts Costs

UPS shipping
Shipping to Rural Areas May Take Longer as UPS Cuts Costs

Getting items to customers quickly is crucial for online sellers, but they don’t get to choose where their buyers are from; in the case of delivering to rural customers, things may get tougher.

A year ago, Business Insider’s Emma Cosgrove reported that UPS was hiking rural delivery surcharges. On Thursday, she reported that UPS will stop delivering to some rural neighborhoods as often due to cost-cutting by the carrier.

Cosgrove discussed the challenges of rural delivery in last year’s LinkedIn post – “The long drives between stops, the terrain plus weather – it all makes for low profitability. Even drivers with rural experience tell me they don’t like it. Pretty much as soon as I started covering last-mile delivery and getting in the weeds on the earnings reports, I saw that rural delivery was going to have to evolve.”

Amazon may fill in the gap somewhat – for itself and its sellers. In her post from late 2021, Cosgrove noted that Amazon had quietly rolled out over 30 warehouses in rural and ‘super rural’ areas in 2021. Last month, we wrote about Amazon’s move to decentralize its fulfillment network by carving it into 8 regions in order to lower costs and speed up delivery times.

Thursday’s Business Insider article is behind a paywall, so we don’t have the details about UPS’s changes to rural deliveries. But the report highlights the importance of the US Postal Service to deliver packages to every household in the country, because for-profit companies can make changes that make it faster and cheaper – or slower and more expensive – to deliver a package to a customer.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

One thought on “Shipping to Rural Areas May Take Longer as UPS Cuts Costs”

  1. This is going to cost more delays if the package is sent via Sure Post, which means it starts out USPS then is handed off to UPS or vice versa. Not sure where the savings are here for shippers, such as Amazon, who is notorious for sending or returning by Sure Post.

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