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Holiday Shipping Cut-Off Dates 2020

As brands and online merchants prepare for what could likely become the largest ecommerce Holiday season ever, many carriers have set their cut-off dates for your holiday purchases to reach their destination on time. To help with your planning, Port Logistics Group brings you this guide based on conversations with our carrier partners. The caveat is that these are best estimates only. Given the increase in COVID-19 cases and other disruptions, these dates could change quickly and merchants should be prepared with contingency plans. 

One thing is clear: It will be a busy shopping season though many experts say offline or in-store will likely decline over last year’s sales due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, online holiday sales are expected to grow. For example, the consulting firm Deloitte predicts ecommerce sales to grow between 25 percent to 35 percent from November 2020 through January 2021, reaching $182 billion to $196 billion. 

The dates in the guide below differ by carrier and their level of service. Shipping cut-off dates also vary by merchant. 

Please note: we have included the ship-by dates as recommended cut-off dates. Please use the day prior as the last day to order. 

Carrier cut-off dates

Domestic U.S.

Economy/Standard Domestic

  • Ground (includes FedEx Ground, Home Delivery, UPS Ground)
    • Generally a 2-5 day delivery (includes weekend days during peak)
    • Recommended cut-off: Ship by Tuesday, 12/15
  • DHLeC Expedited and USPS First Class
    • Generally a 2-5 day delivery (includes weekend days)
    • Recommended cut-off: Ship by Tuesday, 12/15
  • DHLeC Expedited Max and USPS Priority
    • Generally a 2-3 day delivery (includes weekend days)
    • Recommended cut-off: Ship by Thursday, 12/17

Expedited Domestic

  • 2-Day (includes FedEx 2-Day & UPS 2nd Day)
    • Generally a 2-business day delivery
    • Recommended cut-off: Ship by Monday 12/21
  • Overnight (includes FedEx Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight, UPS Next Day Air)
    • Generally a 1-business day delivery
    • Recommended cut-off: Ship by Tuesday, 12/22

International

Economy/Standard International

  • DHLeC Global Mail International Direct & Asendia
    • Generally a 4-8 day delivery globally
    • Customs clearance could impact transit time
    • Recommended cut-off: Ship by Monday, 12/14
  • DHLeC Global Mail International Standard & Asendia
    • Generally a 4-10+ day delivery globally
    • Customs clearance could impact transit time
    • Recommended cut-off: Ship by Monday, 12/7

Expedited International

  • FedEx International Economy and International Priority (Requires completed/approved Power of Attorney to Canada)
    • Generally a 1-3 day delivery globally
    • Customs clearance could impact transit time
    • Recommended cut-off: Ship by Monday, 12/21
  • DHL Express (Requires completed/approved Power of Attorney to Canada)
    • Generally a 1-3 day delivery globally
    • Customs clearance could impact transit time
    • Recommended cut-off: Ship by Monday, 12/21

With the holiday season upon us, brands are gearing up for the busiest period of the year. With the increased demand, new surcharges and shipping fees can add a considerable amount to your shipping costs. In addition to these shipping cut-off dates, many carriers have already instituted holiday surcharges. For more, read Peak Season Surcharges in 2020: What to Expect and How to Manage Them.

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