FACTBOX: Peak shipping season hits at FedEx' Memphis hub

Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:17pm EST
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MEMPHIS (Reuters) - Monday night was the year's busiest for FedEx Corp, with its Memphis facility receiving, sorting and spitting out 1.7 million packages in 3-1/2 hours, the highest volume of any of the shipper's hubs.

The company is forecasting an 8 percent increase in peak day volume amid the nascent economic recovery. It also recently announced an increase in its expectations for quarterly profit.

Both FedEx and rival United Parcel Service Inc handle such a huge chunk of the world's shipping that economists consider them bellwethers.

Below are some facts and figures about FedEx' Memphis air hub -- its biggest and one of 10 worldwide -- and its holiday business.

FedEx handles 7.5 million packages on an average day and almost twice that on its peak day. About 13 million shipments hit the system on December 14, its busiest day of 2009.

A FedEx package is scanned up to 18 times between intake and delivery.

On an ordinary night, the company flies five empty planes it calls "sweepers" to assist with unexpected volume surges, mechanical failures or inclement weather. On peak night, it flew eight.

Because at least one FedEx plane is always in the air at any moment, the company staffs at least one of a team of 15 meteorologists round-the-clock at the Memphis hub.

More than 15,000 people work at the Memphis facility.   Continued...