FedEx does not equal Overnight

Like “Kleenex” means “tissue” and “Jello” means “gelatin,” FedEx, at least in my mind, means “overnight.” I always thought the reason we sent things FedEx was so that they would be there the next morning.

Apparently, however, if something is sent from the U.S. to Canada, sending it FedEx means not overnight but rather “in a couple of days.” The FedEx International Priority page describes their international service as “time-definite delivery typically in 1, 2 or 3 business days.” Their delivery standard for Prince Edward Island is delivery by 5:00 p.m. the 2nd business day.

It seems to me that among the things that restricts Prince Edward Island’s economic development this would be at least on the middle of the list. Of course it’s not something unique to the Island (although I suspect FedEx parcels to Toronto and Montreal are next-day delivered most often). But Boston is close enough to Prince Edward Island that you can almost spit on it, and to take 48 hours to wing a parcel here seems closer to “forever” than it does to “overnight.”

Caveat emptor.


Johnny's picture
Johnny on May 1, 2003 - 18:31 Permalink

It might have something to do with packages being inspected at the border. This seems to happen at random and can substanitally delay a package, and in some cases, results in additional ‘inspection fees’.

Alan's picture
Alan on May 1, 2003 - 18:43 Permalink

Nah, these don’t get checked at the geographical border but are flown by a little FedEx plane out of C’town to Halifax daily. It would go through a Hfx to Boston flight daily. The delay is due to lack of imagination.

Dave's picture
Dave on May 1, 2003 - 19:58 Permalink

The route the package almost certainly took was from Boston to a FedEx hub (likely Newark or Indianapolis) to Toronto (where it would clear customs) to Halifax to Charlottetown. Sounds inefficient but it’s the nature of a hub and spoke system. Fred Smith, founder and CEO of FedEx, likened it to a phone switch as a better alternative to a bunch of phone lines running between every 2 points that wanted to communicate.

FedEx is a complex system and has to work as such. Exceptions to the system (like flying a package more directly from Boston to Ch’town), even where they appear beneficial, only serve to break down the system; adding cost and lowering quality of service.

I’m not doing it justice, but I can assure you that the planning and, yes, imagination that goes into the design of the FedEx system is impressive.

Finally, you do have to watch international transit time quotes. Every carrier in the world will quote transit times, “subject to customs clearance.” This is something that’s beyond their control, though they work with customs agencies everywhere to continually improve clearance.

Disclosure: I worked for FedEx for 5 years, both overseas and in the US. I no longer work for them and definitely do not speak for them, but I am a fan … as both a customer and an ex-employee.

Alan's picture
Alan on May 1, 2003 - 20:33 Permalink

So there you have it — it is due to a positive act of imagination which places PEI efficiencies behind the needs of others through creating one international exit and entry point. Great for FedEx. Bad for Peter in PEI.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on May 1, 2003 - 20:53 Permalink

Here, for the record, is the journey of my parcel so far:

<li>Dublin, NH
<li>Portsmouth, NH
<li>Londonderry, NH
<li>Memphis, TN
<li>Montreal, QC (Mirabel)

The most recent tracking information at this hour is the 7:08 a.m. arrival this morning at Mirabel.

Alan's picture
Alan on May 1, 2003 - 21:02 Permalink

…it sits alone in a corner gathering dust bunnies…

Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on May 1, 2003 - 21:05 Permalink

Makes me wonder who the banks use as courier. I ordered American Express Travelers cheques, Australian dollars, in mid April (on a Tuesday) from RBC. They had to order from Toronto for a Friday delivery. Never arrived. No idea where they went. AMEX claims they shipped.

They had not arrived by the 28th so RBC re-ordered with promise they would be here the 29th. Arrived on May 01.

Justin's picture
Justin on May 2, 2003 - 03:41 Permalink

I don’t know who Purolator uses south of the 49th, but I’d recommend Purolator anyway. Even moreso now that I keep getting “Fedexed” packages addressed to (ahem) the same address as the Fed-Ex depot itself.

Dan James's picture
Dan James on May 2, 2003 - 04:30 Permalink

If I remember my TLC “forbidden places” correctly all North American FedEx pacakages go through Memphis. It’s FedEx’s HQ/main sorting facility.

Ironbear73's picture
Ironbear73 on September 30, 2003 - 15:38 Permalink

I have over 300 packages delivered to me from Fed Ex over the last 3 years and niot once had a instance to which you speak. There is nothing wrong with the hub and spoke system. And Fed Ex’s is by far the most advanced. I didn’t I just read one of you tracked your packages route. Seems all full funny but when I used UPS and Airborne Express I had to take their word over the phone where my package was. The Sku system Fed Ex uses is first rate. Sorry, to rain on this little disgruntled party but I don’t imagination has anything to do with it. There is still a key fact in all systems that includes you and your jobs and that’s the human fact. People make mistakes that’s what it sounds like to me here.
Also, all packages have to go through customs from other countries. That doesn’t mean necessairly at the border. WHen the aircraft lands custom agents inspect the packages.

Ken's picture
Ken on August 19, 2004 - 19:53 Permalink

I’m happy for Ironbear that his packages arrive on time. That of course does not justify his assumption that the system works for everyone. I live in Halifax and my packages from Michigan NEVER arrive in a day. That’s okay for me because I figure in two days for delivery now. Nonetheless, the routes my packages take are pretty creative, and I have to wonder if there is a better way.
No Ironbear, not every package is delayed in customs. They have to go through it, but many, many things are just zipped through. Customs is not the delay.
No Ionbear, human error cannot acount for every package I receive taking two days, unless a statistical freak show is occuring with my mail.
Anyway, this is not a disgruntled complaint. I wouldn’t have said anything at all if IB hadn’t been so comically outraged over such a benign topic. He was so upset some of his sentences are undecipherable.
Really IB, all this because some of us wonder why our packages take longer than we expect?