Rental Trucks Might Be Harder to Find in December

With the rise of e-commerce, package delivery companies are turning to rental vehicles for help

The Washington Post

Dec. 17, 2015—It's about this time of year that the mail starts getting delivered in a U-Haul.

FedEx, UPS, even the U.S. Postal Service rely heavily on rentals this time of year. You might not believe in Santa's sleigh, but something's got to haul all those holiday packages. That's become a harder and harder job, as America has learned to shop online rather than picking up gifts in stores—and along with hiring tens of thousands of temporary employees, the delivery services have turned to rental car companies for help.

Handling the surge is particularly challenging for the Postal Service, which has historically specialized in handling highly dense first-class mail. Transitioning into the bulky package business—which it's done in a big way in recent years, as a last-mile delivery service for FedEx and UPS—has strained its aging fleet of relatively compact trucks. And the Postal Service's unique, congressionally mandated budgeting restrictions have made it difficult to replace them at a rate that would keep up with demand, according to an inspector general's report from last year.

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