FedEx Corp.

is warning that the spread of the Omicron variant is contributing to staffing shortages and delaying shipments traveling on aircraft.

“The explosive surge of the COVID-19 Omicron variant has caused a temporary shortage of available crew members and operational staff in the FedEx Express air network,” the company said in service alerts this week.

Severe winter storms around the country, including at its main air hub in Memphis, Tenn., are also posing challenges, FedEx said, adding, “The health and safety of our team members is our top priority.”

FedEx is enacting contingency plans to minimize service disruptions, including diverting packages for its Ground division to deliver.

The notice shows the strain that the highly transmissible Covid-19 variant is having on employers across the country. Passenger airlines have been hit hard, canceling 1,000 flights for 13 consecutive days.

FedEx has struggled throughout the past year to adequately staff its vast delivery network due to the pandemic and tight labor market, which required the company at times to reroute hundreds of thousands of packages each day to locations with enough workers.

Company executives said last month that higher pay, more paid time off, flexible scheduling and other incentives has helped FedEx to attract and retain enough workers to staff operations during the busiest time of the year.

The other large carriers say that the newest variant hasn’t had an impact on service levels.

“Call-outs are not impacting our ability to serve our customers,” a

United Parcel Service Inc.

spokesman said Friday.

UPS

planned to hire 100,000 seasonal workers to work during the peak shipping season, which runs through the end of January, and many are still in their roles.

UPS requires workers with symptoms such as fevers or respiratory symptoms to seek medical treatment. “We do not want them to come to work if they are sick,” the spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service said that while it wouldn’t provide details on positive Covid-19 cases, “I can assure you that the Postal Service does have resources in place, including adequate staffing, to meet the service needs of our customers.”

Scientists are using automation, real-time analysis and pooling data from around the world to rapidly identify and understand new coronavirus variants before the next one spreads widely. Photo Illustration: Sharon Shi

Write to Paul Ziobro at [email protected]

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the January 8, 2022, print edition as ‘FedEx Warns Omicron Surge Is Disrupting Air Cargo.’

(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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