|Traded as||NYSE: UPS
S&P 100 Component
S&P 500 Component
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
|Founder||James E. Casey|
|Headquarters||55 Glenlake Parkway,Sandy Springs, Georgia, U.S.|
(Chairman and CEO)
|Products||Courier express services
Freight forwarding services
|US$5.467 billion (2016)|
|US$3.431 billion (2016)|
|US$429 million (2016)|
Number of employees
|Subsidiaries||The UPS Store
UPS Supply Chain Solutions
UPS Express Critical
UPS Mail Innovations
UPS Professional Solutions
United Parcel Service (UPS) is an American multinational package delivery company and a provider of supply chain management solutions. The global logistics company is headquartered in the U.S. city of Sandy Springs, Georgia, which is a part of the Greater Atlanta metropolitan area.
UPS also operates UPS Airlines.
On August 28, 1907, James Casey founded the American Messenger Company with Claude Ryan in Seattle, Washington, capitalized with $100 in debt. Most deliveries at this time were made on foot and bicycles were used for longer trips.
The American Messenger Company focused primarily on package delivery to retail stores with special delivery mail delivered for its largest client the United States Postal Service. In 1913 the company acquired a Model T Ford as its first delivery vehicle. Casey and Ryan merged with a competitor, Evert McCabe, and formed Merchants Parcel Delivery. Consolidated delivery was also introduced, combining packages addressed to a certain neighborhood onto one delivery vehicle. In 1916 Charlie Soderstrom joined Merchants Parcel Delivery bringing in more vehicles for the growing delivery business. In 1919 the company expanded for the first time outside of Seattle to Oakland, California and changed its name to United Parcel Service. The name change to United Parcel Service was to remind the company expansion that operations were still United under the same organisation and Parcel identified the type of business offered as part of its Service. Common carrier service was acquired in 1922 from a company in Los Angeles, California. UPS became one of the only companies in the United States to offer common carrier service. At first common carrier was only limited to a small area around Los Angeles but by 1927 expanded to areas up to 125 miles outside the city. In 1924 a conveyor belt system was debuted for the handling of packages for UPS operations.
In 1930, a consolidated service began in New York City, and soon after in other major cities in the East and the Midwest. The use of common carrier for delivery between all customers placed UPS in direct competition with the United States Postal Service and the Interstate Commerce Commission. The common carrier service was applied in cities where UPS could use the service without the authority of the ICC and state commerce commissions. The first city for UPS to use common carrier status outside California was Chicago, Illinois in 1953.
Air service through UPS was first used in 1929 through private airlines. However, The Great Depression and a lack of volume ended the air service. In 1953 UPS resumed air service called UPS Blue Label Air with two-day service to major cities along the East Coast and West Coast.
In 1975, UPS moved its headquarters to Greenwich, Connecticut and began servicing all of the 48 contiguous states of the United States. The expanded operations to all 48 states made UPS the first package delivery company to serve every address in the Continental United States. UPS went international in 1975 establishing operations in Canada and in 1976 operations were established in Germany. On February 28, UPS Ltd. (later changed to UPS Canada Ltd.) began operations in Toronto, Ontario. UPS Canada's head office is located in Burlington, Ontario. In 1976, UPS established a domestic operation in West Germany.
UPS Next Day Air Service was launched in 1985 for all 48 states plus Puerto Rico. In 1988, UPS Airlines was launched with authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration. UPS Airlines became the fastest-growing airline in FAA history and today is the 10th largest airlines in the United States. Domestic air service was added to Germany in 1989. In 1991, UPS moved its headquarters to Sandy Springs, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. In 1992, UPS acquired both Haulfast and Carryfast and rebranded them UPS Supply Chain Solutions. Haulfast provided the pallet haulage and trucking network for the CarryFast group of companies. By 1993 UPS was delivering up to 11.5 million packages and documents per day.
The large volume of UPS customers in the 1990s made UPS develop new technology for better efficiency. A handheld device called Delivery Information Acquisition Device (DIAD) was created to record and upload delivery information to the UPS network immediately upon pickup by every UPS driver. In 1992, UPS began tracking all ground shipments electronically. In 1994, UPS.com debuted, and provided the perfect interface to make what was primarily internal operational information available for customer access. In 1995, UPS acquired SonicAir to offer service parts logistics and compete with Choice Logistics. In the same year UPS launched UPS Logistics Group to facilitate global supply chain management solutions and consulting for customer needs. In 1997, a walkout by the 185,000 members of the Teamsters shut down UPS for 16 days. In 1998, UPS Capital was established to enable companies to grow their business through a comprehensive menu of integrated financial services through UPS. UPS acquired Challenge Air in 1999 to expand its operations in Latin America.
On November 10, 1999, UPS became a public company.
In 2004, UPS entered the heavy freight business with purchase of Menlo Worldwide Forwarding, a former subsidiary of Menlo Worldwide. UPS rebranded it as UPS Supply Chain Solutions. The purchase price was US$150 million and the assumption of US$110 million in long-term debt. On August 5, 2005, UPS announced that it has completed its acquisition of less-than-truckload (LTL) trucking company Overnite Transportation for US$1.25 billion. This was approved by the FTC and Overnite shareholders on August 4, 2005. In 2005 UPS offered non-stop delivery service between Guangzhou and the United States. On April 28, 2006, Overnite officially became UPS Freight. On October 3, 2005, UPS completed the purchase of LYNX Express Ltd, one of the largest independent parcel carriers in the United Kingdom, for £55.5 million (US$97.1 million) after receiving approval for the transaction from the European Commission. The first joint package car center operation, in Dartford, Kent, is opened in 2006.
On August 28, 2007, United Parcel Service celebrated its 100th anniversary.All Nippon Airways, a Star Alliance member, and UPS formed a cargo alliance and code-share to transport member cargo in 2008, similarly to an airline alliance. On March 19, 2012, UPS announced that it intended to acquire TNT Express for $6.8 billion, in a move to help expand its presence in European and Asian markets. However, the deal fell through in January 2013 after it was announced that UPS had failed to obtain permission from the European Commission and as such had been blocked on competition grounds. In February 2012 UPS acquired Brussels-based company Kiala that provides e-commerce retailers the option to have goods delivered to a conventional retail location.
UPS's primary business is the time-definite delivery of packages and documents worldwide. In recent years, UPS has extended its service portfolio to include less than truckload (LTL) transportation (primarily in the U.S.) and supply chain services. UPS reports its operations in three segments: U.S. Domestic Package operations, International Package operations, and Supply Chain & Freight operations.
U.S. Domestic Package operations include the time-definite delivery of letters, documents, and packages throughout the United States.
International Package operations include delivery to more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, including shipments wholly outside the United States, as well as shipments with either origin or distribution outside the United States.
Supply Chain & Freight (UPS-SCS for UPS Supply Chain Solutions) includes UPS' forwarding and contract logistics operations, UPS Freight, and other related business units. UPS' forwarding and logistics business provides services in more than 175 countries and territories worldwide, and includes worldwide supply chain design, execution and management, freight forwarding and distribution, customs brokerage, mail and consulting services. UPS Freight offers a variety of less than truckload ("LTL") and truckload ("TL") services to customers in North America.
UPS employs approximately 444,000 staff: 362,000 in the U.S. and 82,000 internationally. Approximately 240,000 UPS drivers, package handlers and clerks are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. During the 1997 United Parcel Service strike, the company's only nationwide strike in its history, which lasted 16 days, Teamster President Ron Carey negotiated a new contract for workers.
Major competitors in the United States include United States Postal Service (USPS) and FedEx, as well as regional US carriers such as OnTrac, Eastern Connection, and LSO, formerly known as Lonestar Overnight. In addition to these domestic carriers, UPS competes with a variety of international operators, including Canada Post (and its subsidiary Purolator), TransForce, Deutsche Post (and its subsidiary DHL), Royal Mail, Japan Post, India Post and many other regional carriers, national postal services and air cargo handlers (see Package delivery and Mail pages).
Historically, the bulk of UPS' competition came from inexpensive ground-based delivery services, such as Parcel Post (USPS) or Choice Logistics. But in 1998 FedEx expanded into the ground parcel delivery market by acquiring RPS (originally Roadway Package System) and rebranding it as FedEx Ground in 2000. In 2003 DHL expanded its US operations by acquiring Airborne Express, significantly increasing its presence in the United States, and adding more competition in the ground delivery market. In response to this, UPS partnered with the US Postal Service to offer UPS Mail Innovations, a program that allows UPS to pick up mail & packages separately from the main Ground network and transfer them to a USPS center, or destination delivery unit (DDU), for final distribution. This process is also known as zone skipping, long used by Parcel Consolidators. UPS also has a separate product called "SurePost" which uses the UPS Ground network to deliver packages to the nearest UPS Package Center, which transfers them to the USPS DDU for "final mile" delivery.
More recently, the continued growth of online shopping, combined with increasing awareness of the role transportation (including package delivery) has on the environment, has contributed to the rise of emerging competition from niche carriers or rebranded incumbents. For instance, the US Postal Service claims "greener delivery" of parcels on the assumption that USPS letter carriers deliver to each US address, six days a week anyway, and therefore offer the industry's lowest fuel consumption per delivery. Other carriers, like ParcelPool.com, which specializes in residential package delivery to APO/FPO addresses, Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and other US Territories, arose in response to increased demand from catalog retailers and online e-tailers for low-cost residential delivery services closely matching service standards normally associated with more expensive expedited parcel delivery.
UPS refers to its delivery van as a "package car". The company utilizes several designs and sizes of package cars, dependent on routes and package volume. The rounded-nose design of fiberglass hood of the UPS package car was patented by the company in 1965.Morgan Olson (Grumman Olson), Union City Body, and Utilimaster manufacture the bodies for UPS delivery vans; older vehicles are based on Ford or General Motors P-chassis, while package cars introduced since the 1990s are based on Freightliner, Navistar, or Workhorse chassis. Originally, UPS delivery vehicles were equipped with manual transmissions and steering, although many newer vehicles are updated with automatic transmissions. In a 2010s redesign of the hood, the rounded-nose design has been phased out; its sealed-beam headlights have been replaced with automotive-sourced composite headlight units faired into the hood.
Along with its large delivery vans, for smaller routes, the company utilizes brown-painted delivery vehicles based on off-the-shelf production vehicles, including minivans (including the Ford Transit Connect and Dodge Grand Caravan) and Mercedes-Benz (Dodge/Freightliner) Sprinter box vans. UPS has ordered Modec electric vans for its UK and German fleets. Energy costs play a huge part in the potential profitability of package delivery companies like DHL and FedEx.
When UPS ground vehicles reach the end of their useful service life and are no longer roadworthy (typically 20-25 years or more, but generally when the body's structural integrity is compromised), they are almost always stripped of reusable parts, repainted in household paint to cover up the trademark, and then sent to the scrapyard to be crushed and broken up. The only exception to this policy is when a package car is repainted white for internal use, usually at a large hub. Prior to scrapping, UPS trucks and trailers are assigned an ADA (Automotive Destruction Authorization) number and must be crushed under supervision of UPS Automotive personnel, which records the vehicle's destruction, as UPS does not re-sell any of its ground vehicles.
The UPS package car (delivery van) is a major symbol of the U.S. business world, with its iconic status referenced in an early 2000s ad campaign following UPS' sponsorship of Dale Jarrett in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: the ads were about how the company would prefer to race the truck over a stock car despite the futility of doing so, as "people love the truck".
UPS commonly refers to its ground package tractor-trailers as "feeders"; these vehicles are distinct from the UPS Freight fleet. In line with its delivery vehicles, nearly all UPS tractor units are painted in a Pullman brown livery. Prior to the 1990s, many tractors were of cabover configuration; as trailer-length laws were revised in the United States, the company transitioned towards the use of conventional-style semitractor. As of 2017, nearly the entire UPS semitractor fleet consists of conventional-cab trucks.
In North America, UPS utilizes a fleet of trucks from several manufacturers, including Mack Trucks (the Pinnacle and Vision) and Navistar (International ProStar+ and 9900i), along with PACCAR vehicles (Kenworth T800, T660 and T680). Older vehicles in the fleet include Ford/Sterling tractors (Aeromax/A-Line), Freightliner (Argosy, the final cabover truck used by UPS); Mack CH and International 8100 tractors are in the process of being phased out. As part of a company policy to avoid advertisement or endorsement of a vehicle manufacturer, whenever possible, the manufacturer emblems and badging are removed when a vehicle enters service.
Previous trucks used by UPS include the Ford L9000, Ford Aeromax, International 8100/8200, International 9670, GMC Astro, Peterbilt 362, Ford L9000, Ford Aeromax, WhiteGMC High Cabover/Road Commander II, Mack CH, Mack MH UltraLiner, Mack F, and Diamond T/Diamond Reo cabovers. At one time[when?], UPS used electric-powered trucks (made by White Motors) for deliveries in Manhattan, NYC. There were only a few hundred of them, but they were notable for their "spooky silence" when running.
Painted a light gray, company-owned semitrailers are distinguished by a large UPS emblem on the forward portion of the trailer sides; newer trailers are distinguished by the fitment of trailer skirts. Designed in several configurations, UPS uses several lengths of trailers (28, 45, 48, and 53 feet). Along with standard flat-bottom van trailers, there are drop-frame trailers (largely being phased out of the fleet) and trailer-on-flatcar trailers (TOFC); the latter are trailers designed for transport on railroad cars.
Dependent on state and provincial regulations, many UPS short trailers are towed in tandem.
UPS contracts with several railroad companies in the United States to provide intermodal transport for its cargo.
UPS Airlines consists of 236 aircraft that serves over 200 countries and territories worldwide. Based out of Louisville, Kentucky (home to Worldport, its worldwide air hub), UPS Airlines operates several major hubs throughout the United States. In addition to Worldport, the largest UPS hubs in the United States are located in Rockford, Illinois (Chicago) and Philadelphia.
Outside of North America, a hub in Cologne, Germany services Europe; in Asia, UPS Airlines operates a facility in Hong Kong and two hubs in mainland China.
The brown color that UPS uses on its vehicles and uniforms is called Pullman Brown. Company founder James E. Casey originally wanted company vehicles to use a yellow paint scheme, but one of his partners, Charlie Soderstrom, stated that a yellow vehicle would be hard to keep clean and that Pullman railroad cars were brown for just that reason.
During the 2000s, the company used the familiarity of its color scheme in an advertising slogan: "What can Brown do for you?"
UPS commissioned brand consultancy FutureBrand to develop its own font, UPS Sans, for use in marketing and communication material. UPS Sans was created by slightly altering certain parts of FSI FontShop International's font FF Dax without permission. This has resulted in an agreement between FSI FontShop International and FutureBrand to avoid litigation.
As of 2013, UPS has over 104,900 vehicles in operation worldwide including nearly 7,000 alternative-fuel vehicles. In May 2008 UPS placed an order for 200 hybrid electric vehicles (adding to the 50 it had at that point) and 300 compressed natural gas (which are 20% more fuel efficient, and add to the 800 it already has) vehicles from Daimler Trucks North America.
UPS received a "striding" rating of 80 points out of 100 totals on the environmental scorecard by the Climate Counts Group for its efforts to lessen the company's impact on the environment. UPS has also been awarded the Clean Air Excellence Award by the United States Environmental Protection Agency because of the alternative fuel program it has developed.
In October 2009, UPS became the first small-package carrier to offer customers the chance to buy carbon offsets to neutralize the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the transport of their packages. Although initially only available on ups.com and to high-volume shippers, they are now widely available through UPS shipping systems and UPS Ready third-party shipping systems.
Allen, Joe, The Package King: A Rank and File History of United Parcel Service, https://www.amazon.com/Package-King-History-United-Service-ebook/dp/B01DH3MJX2/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=