In a holiday season marked by less in-person shopping, major package carriers have been concerned about their abilities to meet demand for online orders.
According to Reuters, retailers also fear “shipageddon,” where general e-commerce needs will combine with holiday orders and overwhelm delivery networks.
But there’s suddenly an added complication.
Pfizer and Moderna have applied for emergency use authorization for their COVID-19 vaccines, and could begin to deliver them in mid-December.
According to Reuters, FedEx and USPS may need to make space for vaccines on cargo planes by bumping packages from the likes of Amazon, Target and Walmart.
FedEx confirmed in a statement that it was “prioritizing vaccines.”
Some retailers hope that their efforts to extend holiday shopping by posting early deals will help spread out the strain on the shipping industry.
Nevertheless, the vaccine’s alignment with the holidays is a challenge and, according to ShipMatrix CEO Satish Jindel, “It could not start at (a) worse time.”