COVID-19 Shipping FAQs and Delivery Protocols - FlagShip Courier Solutions

COVID-19 Shipping FAQs and Delivery Protocols

Posted by Charlene Hui
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As the world adjusts to the impact of COVID-19, the carriers we work with are being guided by the recommendations of the WHO and other leading health organizations. Safety will never be compromised. 

Each courier has developed delivery protocols in reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak. Below you can reference and better understand the impact on courier deliveries with Purolator, UPS, FedEx, DHL and Canpar; as well as some of the frequently asked questions. 

 We will update this page as new information becomes available. 

COVID-19 Shipping FAQ  

Is it safe to receive a package from any area where COVID-19 has been reported “Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.” – World Health Organization (WHO) 

Can I ask for a “Signature Required” for my shipment during this time?  Couriers like Purolator, UPS, Canpar and DHL still permit a signature required shipment. However, to keep the driver and recipient safe, the driver will write the recipient’s name on their handheld device. Couriers like FedEx have temporarily suspended the signature required option. The only exception would be adult signature required (ASR) shipments where they will still request a physical signature and a government-issued photo ID. 

What happens to my shipment if the recipient is not there to receive the package?  It is best to ensure that your receiver for your shipment is available to receive your package. If the receiver’s location is closed, the shipment may be returned to the shipper at the shipper’s expense. 

Can I get a refund if my package is delayed Unfortunately, no. Couriers such as Purolator, UPS, FedEx, Canpar and DHL have suspended all Express service guarantees for the time being. 

Carrier Delivery Protocols 

At this time, in response to the COVID-19 health crisis, carriers have put certain delivery protocols in place due. Below you can find the protocols and service updates by carrier.  

We are diligent in keeping this information current, and service updates will be made when they become available. 

Effective for all carriers:  

  • Please ensure the receiver for your shipment(s) created is available to receive your package(s). If the receiver is closed, the shipment may be returned to the shipper at the shipper’s expense. 
  • The money back guarantee for Express shipments (when applicable) is now suspended until further notice. 

Purolator– click here for Purolator’s dedicated COVID-19 response page  

  • If the customer refuses to sign – the driver will write in “refuse to sign” and the package will still be delivered 
  • Purolator’s drivers, shipping centre employees and partners will release packages with verbal consent, as opposed to requiring a written signature for most types of shipments. This avoids the spread of germs through scanners and styluses being passed back and forth. 
  • Mississauga East: Purolator has implemented a 2 p.m. cut-off time for scheduling ad hoc shipment pickups (i.e., pickups that are not regularly scheduled) serviced by their Mississauga East terminal until further notice. Additionally, the Purolator Shipping Centre located within the Mississauga East terminal is open for curbside pickup only. Customers are able to pick up doorknocker and Hold for Pickup (HFPU) shipments. For more service interruptions, click here.
  • Due to volume, Purolator has new delivery protocols for Calgary, Mississauga East, Laval and Anjou* Calgary, Laval and Anjou: pickup services have been suspended until further notice. Unless you have a regular prescheduled daily pickup, your packages need to be dropped off at a Purolator location – find a drop-off location here.
  • Below is an update on shipment volumes and service impacts by province:
    • East:
      • Newfoundland: We are experiencing high volume levels and a ferry service disruption. Shipments may experience a one-day delay.
      • New Brunswick: The Moncton hub experiencing a small controlled backlog of non-conveyable freight. Service is current in the terminals across the province.
      • Nova Scotia: Shipments to Kentville, Port Hawkesbury, Truro and Yarmouth may experience a one-day delay; while shipments to Dartmouth may experience an up to a four-day delay.
      • Prince Edward Island: We are current with our service.
      • Quebec:
        • Granby, Joliette, Quebec City, Rimouski and Sherbrooke: Shipments may experience a one-day delay.
        • Ste. Jerome: Shipments may experience a three-day delay.
        • Boucherville and Laval: Shipments may experience a four-day delay.
        • Anjou: Shipments may experience a five-day delay.
    • Central:
        • Ontario:
          • The Ontario Hub is experiencing a backlog due to higher than anticipated volume and is prioritizing healthcare and express shipments.
          • Terminals across the province are experiencing higher than anticipated volumes. Shipments may experience a one-day delay.
          • Ottawa East: We have implemented a 2 p.m. cut-off time for scheduling ad hoc shipment pickups (i.e., pickups that are not regularly scheduled) serviced by our Ottawa East terminal until further notice. Customers may experience a delay of up to three days in the delivery of their shipments.
    • West:
      • Manitoba: Winnipeg is in a controlled backlog and is prioritizing healthcare and express shipments. Shipments to Manitoba may experience an up to two-day delay.
      • Saskatchewan: We are current with our service.
      • Alberta: We are current with our service.
      • British Columbia: Shipments to Victoria may experience a one-day delay as a result of ferry service interruption.

UPS click here for UPS’s dedicated COVID-19 response page 

  • If receiver is refusing to touch the driver’s handheld scanner for signature, the driver will enter refusal in the handheld and leave the shipment with no signature – even if a signature was required. 
  • UPS Air Cargo Capacity: Effective April 12th 2020 and until further notice, a temporary peak surcharge will be applied to all UPS Import and Export Air Shipments. The temporary peak surcharge will be based on per kilogram or pound of the shipment in addition to the existing shipping rate. The rate appearing on your screen at time of booking will include the peak surcharge fee.

FedEx click here for FedEx’s dedicated COVID-19 response page 

  • If a shipment is being delivered to a location that is closed due to the virus, a “Future Delivery scans” will be put on the shipment until further notice. FedEx will be using the same method as they do during the Holiday break. 
  • To continue providing the best possible service during this time, FedEx is implementing a temporary surcharge on all FedEx Express international shipments beginning April 6. For Canada-export shipments to all destinations including the U.S., the surcharge is the greater of $0.14 per lb. (0.5 kg). For details and temporary Canada-import surcharges, please click here (updated April 3, 2020). 

Canpar – click here for Canpar’s dedicated COVID-19 response page 

  • Effective immediately, drivers will not be obtaining signatures at the time of delivery, including freight where signatures are mandatory. The drivers will not be handing the scanner to any customers to sign. Drivers will be entering “CRSS” along with the recipient’s name into the scanners. Any recipients refusing to follow this process, their package will be returned to the terminal for alternate pick up arrangements. 
  • Any shipment that could not be delivered due to closure, gets held at the terminal for 5 days and then returned to shipper at the shippers’ expense. 

DHL  click here for DHL’s dedicated COVID-19 response page 

  • If the receiver is refusing to sign for the shipment, the package will be returned to the depot. A second attempt will be made and if it is refused again, the package will be returned to shipper. DHL drivers have and will offer hand sanitizer to the receiver once they sign (if needed/wanted by receiver). 
  • If the receiver is not there to receive the shipment, the package will be staying in the receiver’s country for 2-3 weeks. 
  • There is a delivery exception for WuhanDHL is not servicing shipments to Wuhan yet. If the shipment destination is closed, DHL will be reviewing with the CNEE and if a delivery is not able to be arranged, they will return the shipment without charges 
  • DHL has suspended services in the following areas in Italy: Avellino, Ariano Irpino, Atena Lucana, Caggiano, Forlì, Medicina, Sala Consilina, Salerno Polla. 
  • The U.S. – Canadian border is temporarily closed for non-essential traffic.  Please note however, this does not affect trade, therefore shipments to/from Canada will continue to move at this time.  However, delivery delays are being experienced to ALL international destinations. 
  • DHL eCommerce will leverage their robust distribution network and reroute to other distribution centres as they do when one of their locations needs to close due to a weather event or needs additional capacity during high volume shipping periods. With restrictions and limitations to contain the spread of the virus changing daily, DHL eCommerce has a COVID-19 Task Force that meets daily to obtain cross-functional updates needed to provide the most current information associated with this global issue.  
  • DHL eCommerce Solutions has temporarily suspended shipments destined to specific countries.  Because the situation is constantly changing, we ask that you refer to the this daily updated COVID-19 International Service Update document. We request that your company please discontinue tendering packages to suspended destination countries effective immediately.  Any packages received in one of the DHL distribution centers will be returned to your company 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our customer service team at 1-866-320-8383 or email us at support@flagshipcompany.com.