In Transit Meaning UPS

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March 16, 2024

In 2022, United Parcel Services, or UPS, handled 743.5 million tracking requests daily. It only shows how important the tracking system is to customers as they ship packages via this logistics giant.

The tracking system includes a list of notifications that may confuse some. For instance, some people may not know the meaning of the tracking status “In Transit.” However, it’s one of the common statuses you will see once you start tracking your shipments. 

What does “In Transit” mean, and how does UPS manage its tracking system?

This article discusses the meaning of “In Transit” and other package status terms used in the UPS tracking system. It also looks into the UPS delivery process and how package tracking gets updated. 

Furthermore, this write-up looks into the tracking systems of other shipping companies, namely, FedEx (Federal Express) and USPS (United States Postal Office), and the terms they use for package status updates. 

UPS works with USPS in delivering packages to addresses in the United States. UPS works with processing the parcel, while USPS handles last-mile deliveries. 

If you need access to contact information for over 31,330 post offices in the country, visit FindPostOffice.org. Our website can help you coordinate with USPS and UPS when these shipping companies handle your package. 

What Does “In Transit” Mean at UPS?

The “In Transit” notification means your package is in the custody of a courier traveling between facilities. This notification doesn’t mean your parcel is getting shipped to its intended destination. 

Some may conflate the terms “Out for Delivery” and “In Transit.” Though both terms indicate traveling, the former means a courier delivered a package to the recipient’s address. 

Does “In Transit Mean It Will Arrive Today?

As mentioned above, the “In Transit” notification means your package travels between two UPS facilities. It doesn’t mean that it’s headed to your location for delivery. 

The notification you should get when a UPS courier delivers a package to the recipient’s address is “Out for Delivery.” This notification means a UPS carrier has your package and is traveling to your address. 

If you get the “Out for Delivery” notification, you’ll most likely get your package within the day. On the other hand, if you get the “In Transit” notification, you most likely won’t receive your parcel on the same day. 

You can check the estimated delivery time by logging into your UPS account. 

What Is a UPS Facility?

A UPS facility is any building or location where shippers can tender packages to UPS couriers for shipping services. 

UPS has over 150,000 entry points globally, where shippers can tender their parcels. These entry points are facilities that include the following:

  • Access Point locations
  • Store locations
  • Shipping outlets
  • Sorting facilities
  • Distribution centers

Things That Happen While Your Package Is in Transit

Your parcels move from one location to another while in transit in delivery trucks handled by UPS drivers. Only a few events may happen during the actual travel. 

However, it doesn’t discount the possibility of encountering problems like delivery vehicle breakdowns and driving into bad weather. 

Once the delivery vehicle reaches another UPS facility, your packages are again scanned and sorted. 

What Does It Mean When My Shipping Status Shows That My Shipment Is on the Way?

You get the “Shipped” or “On the Way” notification when your package moves through the UPS network and has a scheduled delivery date. This status is unchanged until the package is out for final delivery. 

Also, there may be long gaps between scans for long-distance deliveries. As a result, updates may take longer until your package reaches another destination hub. 

Three Distinct Stages of Transit

Three separate stages happen during the transit of your packages through the UPS network. 

  1. The pick-up stage: This is the first stage of the transit process. Here, a carrier picks up the package from a sorting facility. 
  1. The in-transit stage: This is the next stage of the delivery process. The package is sorted to a delivery vehicle and is “En Route” or transported to the next facility. 

When a package arrives at a facility, it undergoes an “Arrival Scan.” At this point, you’ll get a status update. Afterward, when your parcel is bound to leave a facility, it undergoes a “Departure Scan,” informing you that it will be in transit again. 

  1. The out-for-delivery stage: This is the last delivery stage, where the carrier delivers the package to the intended “Final Destination.” 

How Late and on What Days Does UPS Deliver?

Sometimes, UPS delivers to residential addresses beyond its standard delivery times of 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM. Many UPS couriers still try to complete deliveries up to 9:00 PM, especially during the holidays when major shipping companies, like UPS, FedEx, and USPS, work overtime. 

However, for business addresses, UPS keeps deliveries within business hours of 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM during standard business days. Saturday deliveries are possible for residential addresses, and businesses open on weekends. On the other hand, UPS reserves Sundays for residential deliveries. 

Can You Track Your UPS Package in Real-Time?

UPS uses a tracking system to monitor the progress of deliveries in real time, like other shipping giants in America. 

UPS issues a tracking number or a unique parcel identifier for customers shipping their packages. Mailers can input this number into the UPS tracking system and get updates on the status of their shipment as it goes through the UPS delivery network. 

Customers get a tracking status or notification for their items. Examples of these tracking statuses are the “In Transit” and “Out-for-Delivery” notifications. 

How Long Is a Package in Transit With UPS?

The transit time varies depending on the distance between the original UPS facility and the destination and the number of facilities it will pass through. 

UPS has an average package transit time of one to five days. However, other factors like bad weather, peak season, and vehicle issues may increase your package’s time in transit. 

Why Is My Parcel Stuck in Transit?

Here is a short list that provides a detailed look into why parcels get stuck in transit. Remember that these reasons don’t only happen with UPS but with other shipping companies, too. 

1. Customs Delay

There are instances where the country’s customs delay your package. In this case, it’s called a customs or clearance delay, which can frustrate customers. However, all inbound packages from abroad must go through customs as a standard government regulation. 

2. Unfavorable Weather Conditions

Shipping giants typically give importance to parcel safety. Because of this, when deliveries encounter unfavorable weather conditions, expect a slowdown in shipping time. If this is the case, contacting UPS customer service is best to know the specific status in areas struck by inclement weather. 

3. Traffic Problems

Another cause for delay is the traffic situation on the route your package is traveling. Factors including construction zones, weather situations, car accidents, and high vehicle volume or saturation cause traffic delays on America’s highways.

4. High Volume Shipments

Another cause for delay is the sheer volume of packages processed at a particular facility. A spike in package volume may occur during peak season, especially during holidays. 

5. Failed Delivery Attempts

Lastly, another usual cause for delays is failed delivery attempts. Sometimes, couriers ship packages to addresses with no one to receive them or have errors in the shipping labels that may result in the package being delivered to the wrong house. 

Failed delivery attempts can be problematic, especially for eCommerce sites relying on speedy, accurate, consistent customer deliveries. 

What Do You Do if Your Package Was Still Delayed in Transit?

You can always check your UPS tracking system for updates on your package’s status. Remember that your parcel goes through different stages while in transit. However, if you believe your package was indeed delayed, you can call UPS customer service at the following numbers: 

  • UPS customer support hotline: 1-888-742-5877.
  • For Access for the hearing impaired: 1-800-833-0056
  • For international shipping: 1-800-782-7892

Can You Pick Up Your Package While It Is in Transit?

There are a few ways you can pick up your package while it’s still in transit. Suppose you’re particularly familiar with the local UPS facility, and they know you. In that case, it’s possible to arrange an on-the-road pickup. However, these may not work for everyone, especially for security reasons. 

You can also use Delivery Intercept, a service you can request after calling UPS. A Delivery Intercept is a service where a customer can request changes to a package’s delivery schedule while in transit. 

For instance, you can tell the courier to deliver the item at a specific location before delivery to your address because you’re not home.

You can also instruct a UPS courier to deliver your package to a virtual address like a warehouse. You can pick up your packages in those locations instead of waiting at the delivery address. 

What Comes After “In Transit” at UPS?

Several outcomes might happen after the “In Transit” stage in the UPS delivery process. One result is that your package is marked “Out-for-Delivery,” which means that the next stop for your package is your address. 

Another outcome is that the carrier transported your package to another depot along the UPS delivery route. For instance, packages sent via air services may go through multiple depots before they reach their destination. 

How to Get Your Parcel Faster

The delivery speed depends on the speed of UPS’ delivery process. However, one way to ensure a parcel gets delivered faster is to choose a fast shipping option. 

You can select UPS Ground with its delivery speed of one to five shipping days or next-day shipping via UPS Next Day. If you need same-day delivery options, you can use UPS Express Critical.   

UPS Tracking Messages

Tracking messages or status updates is an essential part of the tracking process employed by shipping companies like UPS. Here are some typical tracking messages UPS customers get regularly. 

  • Arrival Scan: The first scan your package goes through when reaching a UPS facility.  
  • Departure Scan: The scan your package goes through before leaving a UPS facility. 
  • In-transit: The status informing you that your package is in a delivery truck traveling from one UPS facility to another. 
  • Destination Scan: The scan informs you that your package has finally reached the last UPS facility before it gets delivered to your address. 
  • Out-for-Delivery: The status informing you that your package with a UPS courier is heading your way.
  • Delivered: The status when a courier successfully delivers the package to its recipient. 

USPS Tracking Messages

The following are tracking messages that USPS customers usually get when shipping packages through the Postal Service. Notice that some tracking statuses are similar to UPS. 

  • Electronic Shipping Info Received: This status update means that your package is being prepared for delivery, but USPS hasn’t yet received the item. 
  • Acceptance: This status informs you that USPS has received your package and scanned it into the tracking system. 
  • Processed Through Sort Facility: This status update means that a USPS sorting facility has processed your parcel, and it is ready for transport to the next destination in the delivery route.  
  • Departed from the USPS Facility: This status informs you that your package has left one USPS facility and is heading to another hub along the delivery route. 
  • In Transit: Similar to UPS, this status informs you that your package is in a delivery truck that’s traveling between two USPS facilities. 
  • Arrival at Unit: This status informs you that your package has reached the last USPS facility on its delivery route and is ready for final delivery. 
  • Out-for-Delivery: This status informs you that your package has left the final USPS facility and is traveling to your address. 
  • Delivered: This status informs you that the courier completed the delivery.

FedEx Tracking Messages

The following are tracking updates you’ll see when you use FedEx (Federal Express) for your shipping needs. 

  • New: This status informs you that information on your package has been added to the FedEx tracking system. 
  • In Transit: This status informs you that your package is being transported by delivery vehicle to another FedEx facility. 
  • Delivery Exception: This status informs you that a FedEx courier attempted to deliver your package but couldn’t complete it because of factors like no one at home being able to receive the parcel.  
  • Delivered: This status means the courier successfully delivered the package to the recipient. 

What Is UPS?

The United Parcel Service is a logistics company that competes with giant shipping companies like FedEx and USPS. UPS handles domestic and international shipments and operates in over 200 countries. 

James Casey and Claude Ryan founded UPS on August 28, 1907. Its headquarters is located in Atlanta, Georgia. Today, UPS handles millions of parcel deliveries daily. In 2022, the daily average volume of packages and documents processed by UPS numbers 24.3 million. 

However, despite these achievements, UPS continues working with USPS to provide final delivery for domestic destinations. UPS provides the pickup and processing, while USPS does the last-mile delivery. 

If your package is to be delivered by USPS, you may need to have the contact information of the USPS facility or post office near you. Visit FindPostOffice.org and access over 31,330 post offices in the country and properly coordinate the delivery of your UPS package. 

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Why is my parcel not moving?

Your parcel may appear not moving because it may currently be “In Transit.” You can check your package’s status via the UPS tracking system. Keep in mind that notifications get updated after a package is scanned. 

However, if the notification doesn’t change after three to five days, you can contact UPS customer service support. 

  1. Why has my package not moved in a week?

Several reasons may cause your package to remain in the same status for a week. Reasons include lost packages, customs or clearance delays, traffic delays, wrong or incomplete address use, and improper packaging. Contact customer support if you suspect your package has encountered a delivery problem. 

  • UPS customer support hotline: 1-888-742-5877
  • For Access for the hearing impaired: 1-800-833-0056
  • For international shipping: 1-800-782-7892
  1. What does USPS “In Transit to Next Facility” or “Item Currently in Transit to the Destination” mean?

The “In Transit to Next Facility” means that your package has left a previous facility and is “In Transit” or traveling to another facility. 

On the other hand, the status “Item Currently in Transit to the Destination” means that the package has left a facility and is being delivered to the recipient’s address. 

  1. Why hasn’t my package with FedEx or UPS moved?

The same reasons that cause package delivery delays in other shipping services are also the reasons for delivery delays in FedEx and UPS

You may need to wait a few days to give way for delays before you report it as missing packages and request a mail search. 

You can contact the following for FedEx customer service:

U.S. Customer Service: 1-800-GO-FedEx and 1-800-463-3339

  1. Does out for delivery mean I get it today?

In most cases, yes. Your package will usually arrive later on that day when your package gets the “Out-for-Delivery” status. The “Out-for-Delivery” status means that your package is currently traveling to the recipient’s destination.

References

  1. Corporate Facts:
    https://about.ups.com/content/dam/upsstories/assets/fact-sheets/ups-global/Corporate-Fact-Sheet-3-15-2023a.pdf
  2. What Does My UPS Tracking Status Mean?
    https://www.ups.com/us/en/support/tracking-support/where-is-my-package/understanding-tracking-status.page
  3. Company Facts
    https://about.ups.com/us/en/our-company/global-presence/corporate-facts.html
  4. United Parcel Service
    https://www.forbes.com/companies/united-parcel-service/?sh=588c894272da