What’s Happening in the World of Shipping: UPS Smart Lockers and D.C. Drones

Looking to keep your finger on the pulse of the world of shipping and mailing? Whether it’s to make sure you’re complying with present and future carrier regulations, or you want your business to be primed to take advantage of the next big trend in sending, our bi-weekly roundup of shipping news stories will help ensure that you’re always up-to-date on what’s going on in our industry. Here are some of this week’s biggest shipping and mailing developments:

‘No more waiting for the UPS guy’ – CBS News

The rise in online shopping and global ecommerce activity means UPS is shipping and delivering more parcels than ever. Rather than let these higher package volumes lead to longer wait times for customers, though, the carrier is taking an innovative new step to deliver to their recipients earlier.

Back in 2014, UPS rolled out a self-service “smart locker” initiative in Chicago, where instead of delivering packages to a customer’s home – which, in many cases, results in a “Sorry we missed you” notice rather than a delivered parcel – the carrier would instead drop off packages in a designated, secure locker. The customer could then pick up the package from this locker at their own discretion. Not only is this designed to fit into the customer’s schedule (if they know they won’t be home, they can simply pick up a delivery from their locker instead), but it also benefits the UPS in saving delivery time and fuel costs that would’ve otherwise been spent on trips to recipients’ houses while no one is home.

Now, UPS is expanding the program to New York, Pennsylvania, Washington and Virginia, in addition to expanding their presence throughout Illinois. The carrier is also expected to implement smart lockers in California, Massachusetts, Georgia, Florida, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Texas and Missouri at some point, as well.

‘It’s official: Drone delivery is coming to D.C. in September’ – The Washington Post

We’ve all been waiting and wondering about how long it will take for drones to become a serious delivery option for mail and shipping carriers. It’s really a matter of “when,” not “if.” In the grand scheme of things, parcel delivery drones are still relatively in their infancy, with some major technological and legal hurdles to jump. But, drones managed to clear at least one of those hurdles recently in Washington, D.C.

Federal law prevents parcels from being delivered via fly-over drones in the nation’s capital. And, while many might have thought that would be the end of drone delivery in D.C., progress can’t be stopped. In this case, progress came in the form of a D.C. city council decision that allowed the Estonian company Starship Technologies to deploy test runs of its ground­-based parcel delivery drones in the area, slated to span from September 15 of this year to December 2017.

Not only does this mark the first time that ground-based drones have been approved for testing in public areas anywhere in the U.S., it also proves that the future of viable drone delivery is not strictly limited to the skies, bringing their application for both business and consumer shipping that much closer to reality.

Keep up-to-date on all the latest shipping news with Pitney Bowes Shipping Simplified.

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