COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

Updated on November 13, 2020

If you are an employee, health department, or hospital, please call: (312) 940-6822

If you are a ShipBob customer, please call: (312) 313-1104

WE ARE OPERATIONAL AT ALL FULFILLMENT CENTERS. Use the Table of Contents below to jump to important information on safety precautions, updates from carriers, etc. 

Table of Contents

Overview

With COVID-19 (Coronavirus) evolving at such a rapid pace, we want to provide our customers and partners a brief update on our business continuity plan (BCP) and what that means for you.

Along with the safety of our employees, our top priority is to ensure that we continue to provide high-quality, uninterrupted service to support your business and your customers.

ShipBob’s BCP Plan

ShipBob takes COVID-19 concerns very seriously, and we want to make sure you are aware of the steps we are taking to ensure minimal disruption to our service. We are monitoring and following all official guidance from the CDC, WHO, and US Department of State.

Currently, all states where we have fulfillment centers — California, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas — have declared a State of Emergency. Certain states like Texas are re-opening businesses, but for now, we are treating our entire network as one, regardless of its location, and erring on the extreme side of caution with safety and sanitation measures.

What This Means for Our Employees

Note: This section for employees was last updated on September 21, 2020.

We are monitoring everything around all of our facilities very closely and as such, we are actively taking steps to minimize the impact and going beyond the CDC’s environmental cleaning and disinfection recommendations.

In regards to our associates in the fulfillment center and all visitors, beginning in February we started taking extensive measures, including:

  • All associates within each fulfillment center are required to wear safety masks and have temperature checks complete before starting their shift (protective gloves are optional).
  • All meetings are in small groups of 10-15 to follow social distancing practices, but are still able to hear the message. At times, social distancing may not be feasible but that is the purpose of wearing the mandatory PPE.
  • We’ve increased cleaning and disinfecting on surfaces across all fulfillment centers.
  • Added Hazard Pay, which increases the effective wages for employees across our fulfillment network during this time period.
  • Initially, we banned overtime to ensure our employees are getting enough rest and to allow time for other safety precautions to be put in place. As more information surfaced and additional protective measures were rolled out, we started opening up overtime.
  • We started offering KinderBob, a monthly child care stipend.
  • We’ve given attendance bonuses and offered other perks to employees while keeping them safe.
  • Launched the ShipBob Giving Fund to give to those experiencing financial hardship by unexpected tragedies. This fund has already raised $53,000 for those working through issues including schools shutting down, businesses closing, and health concerns. This fund will remain in perpetuity long after COVID-19 to support associates who need to bridge that financial gap through extreme situations. We have already provided over 75 grants in excess of $30,000.

On March 12, we issued a mandatory Work From Home policy for all employees based at our headquarters (HQ) in accordance with Executive Order 2020-10 issued by the State of Illinois and federal government ruling. The policy stayed in effect until August 3, 2020, at which point HQ employees became allowed to (optionally) sign up in advance to reserve a socially distanced desk in the office so long as they pass a temperature screening before entering the office building and wear a mask where social distancing is not attainable. Non-employees are still not allowed into the HQ office at this time. 

ShipBob also announced that HQ employees are allowed or welcomed to work remotely from home indefinitely. 

While we are hoping for the best, we are planning for the worst to limit the impact it has on our employees, on your business, and on your customers. If there are any additional changes to our operations and our fulfillment of your orders, we will notify you promptly.

If you’re a ShipBob merchant, please see further information below. 

What This Means for Our Merchants (+ Time-Stamped Updates from Carriers)

Our goal is to keep you informed as we see events that might affect our ability to service you and your customers. As we have seen the continued escalation of the Coronavirus on the world stage, we continue to take measures to protect our team.

Please note that all merchant visits to our fulfillment center locations and Chicago headquarters have been suspended until further notice. 

To reduce outside contact and keep our fulfillment centers associates safe, we will not allow pickup orders from our fulfillment centers for the time being. If you request to drop off inventory yourself, we will not accept this without permission from our operations leadership.

For our vendors, contractors, drivers, and carrier partners (including parcel and freight B2B shipments), all are required to put on PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) upon entering for inbound freight drop off, outbound load pickup, or service work within our buildings.

November 13, 2020: Temporary +1 Day SLA Extension Starts Black Friday

While we have hired hundreds of additional staff for this peak season and hoped to keep our standard SLAs throughout Q4, we are seeing record volumes. As such, we will add a +1 business day extension to our SLAs, which will go into effect starting Black Friday (November 27) and remain in effect until December 8, 2020 (the day before our holiday cutoff for Standard Shipping to ensure delivery by Christmas).

The +1 business day SLA extension applies to standard fulfillment for outbound B2C shipments, B2B orders, and kitting. The outbound fulfillment extension does not apply to expedited orders. All Expedited, Overnight, and 2-Day orders will continue to be prioritized and fulfilled the same day as long as the order is imported pre-noon local time.

Please note: This temporary SLA extension does not impact any of our 2020 Holiday Cutoffs listed here.

Last year, we had a +1 business day extension for all SLAs between Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Eve. With the addition of the pandemic and the challenges it brings, we assure you we are doing everything we can to minimize delays and interruptions to your business and shorten the window.

As always, we depend on you to communicate your upcoming promotions by filling out our Promotional/Bulk Upload Details form at least 72 hours in advance, especially if you plan on starting promotions earlier than Black Friday this year.

Additionally, for the first time ever carriers are rationing volume, which means they are only taking a certain amount of packages from us per day. We are working around this by talking to our reps to increase capacity and pickups as well as expanding our carrier partnerships.

We have started using a new regional carrier called PCF out of our Bethlehem, PA fulfillment center to deliver in the Northeast US. They specialize in residential delivery and are able to get most packages inducted within their network within a few hours of handoff from ShipBob and deliver most of our standard packages in 2 days or less.

November 6, 2020: Upcoming Cutoffs & Turnaround Times

A note on expedited and 2 Day orders:

  • As you may have seen in the news, all carriers (UPS, FedEx, and USPS) are bracing for the biggest ever holiday season, which also has new challenges given the pandemic. Thus, the carriers have suspended all of their service guarantees on delivery time frames. We at ShipBob are dependent on the carriers to deliver on time, and given all carriers have suspended their SLAs, we have to adjust our SLAs as well. With record  volumes flowing through their networks, we are also anticipating carriers to be extremely backlogged to process shipments.
  • We want to make sure we perform to our high level of standards when it comes to 2 day or expedited delivery options, so we will be guaranteeing that any expedited or ShipBob 2 day orders that come in before noon local time get fulfilled and labeled by 6pm local time the same day, so the carriers can pick up the order that day as well.
  • If we fail to label the shipment by 6pm local time, we will refund the full fulfillment cost for the shipment.
  • Effective November 9, until further notice: For any expedited or ShipBob 2 day orders that come in before noon local time and get labeled by 6pm local time the same day but are not delivered by the carriers on time, we will not refund those shipments, as we are unable to hold the carriers to their SLAs.

Preparing SKUs in your ShipBob dashboard

There are a few considerations we ask you to review now to ensure there are no issues throughout the holiday season, especially if you are adding new SKUs.

Add your packaging preferences

ShipBob defaults the packaging preference for all SKUs to a standard brown box if you do not select anything else. If a box is not your packaging preference for a particular SKU, please update it to a poly mailer or a bubble mailer (bags). Here’s how to update packaging preferences:

Add tariff codes for international shipping

If you ship internationally, you must add tariff codes at the product-level to improve deliverability and prevent issues at customs. If this information is missing, international orders will be put on-hold and not fulfilled until resolved.

You can update your products individually or in bulk. We highly recommend that you update all customs-related fields for each of your products to avoid international orders getting held up, including:

  • Tariff Code [Valid HS code is 6-10 digits (not including periods), and must be in one of the following formats:
    • 1234.12.xxx
    • 123456
    • 1234.12]
  • Value [cannot be 0]
  • Description
  • Weight (Basic Product Information panel).

Learn how to add tariff codes and customs information here.

Carrier delays and transit time data

We continue to see carrier delays due to peak season volumes and staffing challenges associated with COVID-19. We created carriers.shipbob.com to provide you with transparency on how the carriers are performing. Here are the average carrier transit time delays we are seeing across our network currently (compared to pre-COVID transit times):

  • UPS MI: +1 day
  • UPS: + 1 day
  • USPS: + 0.5 day
  • FedEx: + 0 days
  • DHL: + 0.5 day

A note on UPS Mail Innovations (MI)

We have noticed a degradation in shipping speeds and performance with UPS Mail Innovations (MI) especially compared to other services (roughly ~30% slower). You have the option to turn off MI, which means we would switch orders to other carriers. This should result in faster shipping speeds as compared to UPS MI and will affect shipping costs for our Standard ship option in the following ways:

  • For zones 1-4, your costs will remain the same as they were when using MI.
  • For zones 5+, orders that weigh 5-15 ounces will incur an extra $0.70 per shipment and ShipBob will cover any further incremental costs after that (there is no change in price for other weights for zones 5+).

Fill out this form to turn off UPS MI.

The carrier COVID-19 surcharge of $0.20 that went into effect in July 2020 ended on November 1, 2020.

October 8, 2020: Holiday Cutoffs & Turnaround Times

Shipment cutoff dates to arrive by Christmas

With Q4 officially underway, we wanted to send you our holiday cutoff schedule for shipments as well as our operations. Our team has been making many strides over the past few months to prepare for peak season, including hiring more on our fulfillment, tech support, and Merchant Care teams.

Domestic shipments

Orders must be imported by 12:00 pm local time on the dates listed below.

  • Standard Ship Option: December 9
  • Expedited Ship Option: December 21
  • Overnight Ship Option: December 22

Here are carrier cutoffs for our most commonly used domestic Ship Options:

  • UPS Ground: December 14
  • FedEx Ground: December 16
  • USPS Priority Mail: December 17
  • USPS First Class: December 17

International shipments

Orders must be imported by 12:00 pm local time on the dates listed below.

Standard (may vary by country):

  • Australia: November 30
  • UK/EU: November 30
  • Canada: December 1
  • Expedited: December 15

ShipBob turnaround times

While we have already hired hundreds of additional staff to plan for peak volume and hope to keep our standard SLAs throughout Q4, depending on the actual volumes we may add +1 day to our SLAs. If we do, we will communicate it closer to the holidays, as this holiday season will be different from the past given the pandemic.

We also depend on you letting us know of your upcoming promotions by filling out our Promotional/Bulk Upload Details form at least 72 hours in advance, especially if you plan on starting promotions earlier than Black Friday this year.

Inventory receiving

November 30 is the last day your inventory can arrive at our fulfillment centers to ensure delivery to customers by Christmas via Standard Ground processing.

Kitting

The last day to submit a new kitting request to be considered for December is November 20. Please request a work order for kitting here with the desired date and details (volume, SKUs, etc.) to schedule the project. Any kitting requests that come in after Black Friday (November 27) will likely not be considered but will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

B2B orders

The last day to schedule a B2B order to be processed before Christmas is December 9.

Inventory transfer orders

The last day to schedule an inventory transfer order to be processed before Christmas is November 16.

For more information about holiday cutoffs, best practices, and other considerations to ensure your products are set up correctly, please review this Help Center article.

September 22, 2020: B2C Fulfillment SLA Restored

We are very excited to share that after an extension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as of today, September 22, our fulfillment SLA for outbound B2C orders is restored to its original timeline. This means all orders imported before noon local time will be fulfilled the same day and post-noon orders will be fulfilled by the next day.

September 10, 2020: Holiday surcharges from carriers

You may have heard that UPS, FedEx and USPS are implementing peak surcharges for the 2020 holiday season. These surcharges have very complex structures, so we are simplifying them to make it easier to calculate.

We understand the impact surcharges can have on your business, so we will make our best efforts to cap them so that even if the carriers continue to increase them for the remainder of 2020, ShipBob will cover the difference.

Note: The existing COVID-19 surcharge of $0.20 that went into effect in July goes away on November 1, 2020. 

Below we share the upcoming holiday surcharges, so that you can plan ahead for the busy holiday period and know what to expect. The first surcharges will go into effect on October 18, 2020, while others go into effect in November, with end dates ranging from end of December to mid-January 2021. All surcharges apply to domestic shipments only.

The table above contributes to nearly 96% of all orders. The table below breaks it down even further for merchants who might be mapped to certain expedited or carrier-specific shipping options.

August 26, 2020: Upcoming Labor Day holiday & carrier updates

Upcoming federal holiday: Labor Day on September 7

Monday, September 7 is Labor Day, a federal US holiday. ShipBob’s fulfillment centers will be closed on Labor Day and have limited capacity over Labor Day weekend (except for our facility in Ireland). Our carriers will be closed over the 3-day weekend. This means Friday, September 4 is the last day carriers will pick up from us until Tuesday, September 8. Our headquartered staff, including our Merchant Care team, will not be working on Monday, September 7.

Due to our limited capacity on Labor Day, please expect orders to require an additional day of processing at our fulfillment centers as holidays are not counted in our SLA.

Weather updates

On Monday, August 24, USPS suspended operations in Southern Louisiana due to tropical storm Marco and also suspended operations in San Francisco/the greater Bay area due to the wildfires in the region. No ShipBob fulfillment centers were impacted, but transit times and deliveries near those locations have been delayed as a result. We will send additional communications if there are other service interruptions due to weather.

Operations updates

Most of our fulfillment network is consistently within our current SLAs. Our Bethlehem, Pennsylvania facility should be on track to be within our SLAs in the next couple of days. We are solving for staffing challenges across our network by:

  • Extending hazard pay
  • Offering KinderBob, a monthly childcare stipend for fulfillment associates
  • Giving attendance bonuses and offering other perks to employees while keeping them safe
  • ShipBob Giving Fund: We created this fund back in March to further support our associates in need. Since inception, we have provided over 75 grants in excess of $
  • 30,000.

August 12, 2020: International rate increases & carrier updates

New international rate increases coming September 12

Because of recent changes in the Universal Postal Union (UPU), ShipBob’s international shipping rates went up on July 26, 2020 across all international carriers. While we have been covering these costs ourselves, we will pass these new international shipping rate increases onto you as of September 12, 2020, which will apply to all international plans for ShipBob’s standard ship option. All of these rate increases are a direct passthrough from the carriers.

Notes:

  • If you do not ship internationally, this update does not apply to you.
  • There are no rate increases for outbound shipments originating from our Canada or Ireland fulfillment centers.

Background on this change

The Universal Postal Union (UPU) is the governing body that helps postal services around the globe facilitate the delivery of mail and packages amongst each other. The United States has threatened to leave the UPU if they could not self-declare terminal dues (i.e., shipping rates) for countries that had inbound letters and small parcel volumes in excess of 75,000 metric tons. This new rate increase hails from the US agreement with the UPU that was signed in September 2019. Read more on Supply Chain Dive.

Most commonly shipped to countries

Every country has a rate increase, but the following countries make up 80.75% of all international shipments across our network: Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Singapore, France, New Zealand, Netherlands, and Sweden. Here are the shipping rate percentage increases for each of these top countries by package weight:

Please see a list of all countries and their corresponding rate increase percentages by shipment weight here.

Carrier delays and transit time data

We continue to see carrier delays due to peak season volumes and staffing challenges caused by more spikes in COVID-19 cases. We created carriers.shipbob.com to provide you with transparency on how the carriers are performing and weekly time-in-transit updates.

Here are the average carrier transit time delays we are seeing across our network currently (compared to pre-COVID transit times):

  • UPS MI: +4.5 days
  • UPS: + 0 days
  • USPS: + 1 day
  • FedEx: + 0 day
  • DHL: + 1 day

We highly recommend that you share potential carrier delays with your customers to set proper expectations. We are working daily with these partners to increase their operational capacity.

Note: We pushed back orders by one extra day in our Bethlehem, Pennsylvania fulfillment center last week because of service disruptions due to carriers not picking up because of Hurricane Isaias. These delays continued over through August 5, 2020. All carriers and fulfillment operations returned to normal status on August 6, 2020.

July 21, 2020: A letter from the CEO

It’s been nearly six months since we began preparing for the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we’ve been able to adapt to this new normal, it looks like we have a long way to go until it is behind us.

Total Coronavirus cases in the US are on the rise and some states are going back into lockdown, closing again, and backtracking their reopening plans (including California where we have a fulfillment center).

ShipBob continues to plan and adapt as we see this pandemic will be here for a while. We make all changes and improvements with you, our customers, in mind.

We are closely monitoring how the economy and our industry are reacting, so we can allow you to stay ahead of your competition in your fulfillment execution and customer experience. For example, Amazon instituted quantity limits and storage restrictions for sellers across all categories on top of their impending storage increases in Q4.

Be assured that we will not be restricting your storage capabilities at ShipBob and we will not be increasing our storage rates in Q4 2020, which is when most of you rely on us most.

ShipBob’s Co-Founder & CEO Dhruv Saxena wrote another detailed letter to our merchants offering a behind-the-scenes look at ShipBob operations at this time and what we are doing to solve today’s challenges.

In it, he outlines:

  • How we’re prioritizing our operations
  • Process improvements and product enhancements we’re making
  • Employee safety and resource planning
  • Attendance initiatives and absenteeism over time
  • Working with carriers
  • Planning for peak season
  • And more

For a more thorough look inside ShipBob, please read the Letter from our CEO.

July 9, 2020: Partial surcharges go into effect + carrier updates

Reminder: Partial COVID-19 surcharges go into effect today

Partial UPS and FedEx COVID-19 surcharges will go into effect starting today. Since May, ShipBob has been covering 100% of COVID-19 surcharges. We decided to share the impact with you by absorbing a significant percentage of each surcharge ourselves, ranging from 33% to the entire 100%. See the new surcharge amounts below and learn more here.

Continued carrier delays

We continue to see carrier delays (from pickup to scan) due to peak season volumes and staffing challenges caused by more spikes in COVID-19 cases. Here are the average carrier transit time delays we are seeing across our network currently (compared to pre-COVID transit times):

  • UPS MI: +3 days
  • UPS: + 0 days
  • USPS: + 1 day
  • FedEx: + 0 day
  • DHL: + 1 day

ShipBob is currently fulfilling over 99.95% of all orders within the same day and 99.99% of orders within our extended SLA. We will only push orders when necessary. Expedited, Overnight, and 2-Day orders will continue to be fulfilled the same day. We are working to reduce this even more and hope to have an update on the SLA going back to its original timeline for you soon.

June 30, 2020: 4th of July & Canada Day holidays + carrier updates

Upcoming federal US holiday closure for 4th of July

July 4th is Independence Day, a federal US holiday. ShipBob and our carriers will observe the holiday on Friday, July 3. This means Thursday, July 2 is the last day carriers will pick up from ShipBob’s fulfillment centers until Monday, July 6. Our headquartered staff, including our Merchant Care team, will not be working on Friday, July 3. Please expect a delay of 1 business day for order processing.

Upcoming Canadian holiday: Canada Day

Wednesday July 1 is Canada Day, and only our fulfillment center in Ottawa, Canada will not be fulfilling orders while they observe this holiday. Please expect a delay of 1 business day for SLAs in Ottawa. If you are not currently using our Canadian fulfillment center, this does not apply to you. If you are interested in utilizing our Canadian fulfillment center, please find more information here.

Continued carrier delays

We continue to see carrier delays (from pickup to scan) due to peak season volumes and staffing challenges caused by more spikes in COVID-19 cases. Here are the average carrier transit time delays we are seeing across our network currently (compared to pre-COVID transit times):

  • UPS MI: +3 days
  • UPS: + 0 days
  • USPS: + 1 day
  • FedEx: + 1 day
  • DHL: + 0.5 days

We highly recommend that you share potential carrier delays with your end customers to set proper expectations. We are working daily with these partners to increase their operational capacity.

June 23, 2020: Extended Fulfillment SLA Reduced + New Video Series

Extended fulfillment SLA reduced by 1 business day

As of tomorrow, Thursday, June 24, we are reducing our extended fulfillment SLA for outbound shipments from being an additional 2 business days to only 1 business day.

We are currently fulfilling over 85.73% of all orders within the same day and 99.63% of orders within our extended SLA. We will only push orders when necessary. Expedited, Overnight, and 2-Day orders will continue to be fulfilled the same day. We are working to reduce this even more and hope to have an update on the SLA going back to its original timeline for you soon.

As a reminder, we reverted our extended inbound inventory receiving SLA back to the standard 5 business days a couple weeks ago.

New: Videos ‘Inside Logistics’ from our fulfillment leadership

ShipBob’s leadership over our fulfillment centers are taking time to record a series of videos that provide a deeper dive on the changes we are making and everything that’s happening during the COVID-19 pandemic. The videos feature our VP of Fulfillment, Genaro Bugarin and Chief Logistics Officer, Todd Bills talking about the following:

  • What load-leveling is
  • How some carriers are seeing more than 1 million more packages per day than 2019 peak
  • What ShipBob is doing to combat carrier delays and what you can do
  • Reducing our extended COVID-19 fulfillment SLA
  • A breakdown of the COVID-19 surcharges imposed by UPS & FedEx

Watch the videos here.

June 10, 2020: Receiving SLA Back to Normal + New Carrier Surcharges

Extended receiving SLA coming to an end

We are happy to announce that as of Monday, June 15 we are reverting back to our standard 5 business day SLA for receiving inventory. We have been averaging 4 days or less across our network and expect this will continue to decrease.

Pricing update: COVID-19 peak surcharges

You may have heard that UPS and FedEx have implemented a peak surcharge during the COVID-19 crisis. UPS surcharges went into effect on May 31 and FedEx surcharges went into effect on June 8. We understand the impact these kinds of surcharges can have on your business.

Therefore, we have made the decision to share the impact by absorbing a significant percentage, ranging from 33% to the entire 100% of each surcharge ourselves (see chart below).

While both carriers have already implemented these surcharges, the surcharge will not become effective for your account until July 9, 2020. Until that time, we will be covering 100% of the COVID-19 surcharges.

Our intention in sharing the costs and delaying the impact is to help mitigate some of the impact to your business. The carriers have not yet communicated when they will eliminate these new surcharges. Once they are gone, you will not be charged these surcharges.

*FedEx Oversize Peak Surcharge is for any package that exceeds 96 inches in length or 130 inches in length and girth.

**UPS Large Package Peak Surcharge uses the formula (L + 2*W + 2*H) and applies if, combined, exceeds 130 inches (330 cm), but does not exceed the maximum UPS size of 165 inches (419 cm).

ShipBob operations update

We’ve hired 236 additional fulfillment associates over the last 90 days and will continue hiring another 60 fulfillment associates across all locations in the next 30 days.

As many states, counties, and towns are reopening, we will follow the local guidance for each of our fulfillment centers. We will be doing everything we can to protect our team members and be at the forefront of managing this pandemic, including the following:

  • We are still requiring all associates to wear protective gloves and safety masks and have temperature checks complete before starting their shift.
  • We continue offering hazard pay for all our fulfillment associates on the frontlines.
  • We continue our heightened cleaning and disinfecting measures completed hourly, with the cleaning all surfaces done multiple times per hour.
  • Additionally, due to the civil unrest in the US and curfews implemented in several regions surrounding our fulfillment centers over the past couple weeks, we decided to modify certain shifts and business hours, and we ramped up security across our network. While we saw carriers pickup delays, and in some cases refusal to pick up from certain locations, carrier operations seem to be resuming to pre-protest levels for the most part.

Continued carrier delays

Over the last couple months, we have seen increased volumes across all of our carrier networks, similar to the 2019 peak season and resulting in delays throughout the United States.

We continue to see the longest delays with DHL, FedEx, and UPS Mail Innovations, taking 1-2 extra business days on average from pickup to scan. With continued civil unrest happening throughout the United States, our carrier partners have informed us that there may be an additional delay of 1-2 days for them picking up shipments from our facilities. This is due to driver safety concerns, compromised routes from major roads, and freeways shut down by peaceful protestors and/or the police.

We highly recommend that you share these total potential carrier delays of 2-4 days with your end customers to set proper expectations. We continue working daily with these partners to increase their operational capacity.

Tracking and lost in transit updates

Due to the significant delays from shipping carriers and status updates, we have eliminated our No Carrier Tracking policy, and all orders will now be eligible for our Lost in Transit policy. As we have added gaylord scans to our outbound process, we are extremely confident that once an order gets labeled, it is leaving our facility; however, there may be carrier delays in pickups or scanning.

We have seen an increase of situations where, after 15 days of no tracking updates for a domestic order, a merchant has sent a replacement to their customer and asked us to file a claim for the original order, but the tracking was updated on the 19th day. As a result, we have increased the days you must wait to file a claim for domestic shipments from 15 days to 20 days.

May 20, 2020: Operations updates & Memorial Day holiday

We’ve hired 147 fulfillment associates in the last 60 days and will continue hiring another 100 fulfillment associates across all locations in the next 30 days.

As some states, counties, and towns are reopening, we will follow the local guidance for each of our fulfillment centers.

This coming Monday, May 25, is Memorial Day, a federal US holiday.

While our fulfillment centers will be open and operational at a lower capacity on Memorial Day to get ahead of the long weekend’s orders, our carriers will be closed. This means Friday, May 22 is the last day carriers will pick up from us until Tuesday, May 26. Our headquartered staff, including our Merchant Care team, will not be working on Monday, May 25.

Due to our limited capacity on Memorial Day, please expect orders to require an additional day of processing at our fulfillment centers as holidays are not counted in our SLA.

May 7, 2020: Letter from our CEO

ShipBob’s Co-Founder & CEO Dhruv Saxena wrote a letter to merchants offering a deeper dive into ShipBob operations at this time and what we are doing to solve today’s challenges.

For a more thorough look inside ShipBob, please read the Letter from our CEO.

April 24, 2020: Updates from carriers

UPS & FedEx suspended DDU/COD payments in Canada

Due to COVID-19, UPS and FedEx cannot take physical payments in Canada. Please refrain from DDU shipments (delivered duty unpaid, where the customer pays the import duties once they receive the package), as COD (cash on delivery) is no longer being accepted at delivery in Canada for order values worth more than $20.

Canadian customers can still pay on the carriers’ website for DDU shipments, but this will cause delays and require your customers to create an account in the carrier’s online portal.

USPS announced delays of international shipments to Australia

Australia Post has advised that they are declaring a situation of force majeure for all inbound and outbound letter-post, parcel-post, and Express Mail Service (EMS) items until further notice. Customers should expect delivery delays.

Please see this list of countries that carriers ask you to refrain from mailing items to at this time.

Lastly, we are working closely with all major carriers on SLAs and expectations. There have been delays in transit times as a result of their staffing challenges. We are seeing intermittent capacity constraints from carriers, and thus some carriers are running behind even after pickup. As a result, you may see some delays in tracking updates even after the packages have been picked up from ShipBob. We will update you immediately upon official word from each respective carrier.

April 17, 2020: Updates from carriers

We want to thank all of our merchants for being understanding and having patience at this difficult time. We are working around the clock to keep our fulfillment centers open and operating so that we can keep supporting your business.

Until this pandemic passes, we are paying our fulfillment associates hazard pay, extending our paid sick days for employees to recover, requiring and providing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), completing temperature checks for everyone before entering our buildings, and limiting group sizes in meetings. We are committed to you and appreciate your understanding.

Service suspensions

Many carriers have implemented a Temporary Service Suspension to countries that are unable to process or transport international mail due to service disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. These disruptions apply to all Standard services, including DHL eCommerce, UPS Mail Innovations, and other consolidators as well.

Please see this list the latest countries that we ask you to refrain from mailing items to at this time.

ShipBob will not reimburse delayed scans or delivery for international shipments. We have extended the no-scan timeline for reimbursements of domestic shipments to 5 days (from 3 days) as outlined at the end of this Help Center article.

A note on COVID-19 surcharges

DHL Express, DHL eCommerce, FedEx, and Asendia have been charging a surcharge for express shipments in light of the current COVID-19 situation. ShipBob will NOT be passing these new surcharges on to our merchants and instead absorb this cost ourselves.

April 3, 2020: Extended fulfillment SLAs & carrier updates

Extended fulfillment SLAs

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are temporarily extending our fulfillment SLA by 2 business days. We are currently fulfilling 99.6% of orders within our current SLA and will only push orders when necessary. You will be notified if we push any orders by 2 business days. This includes B2C and B2B orders, along with WROs.

Note: Expedited, Overnight, and 2-Day orders will not be affected and will continue to be fulfilled the same day.

All of our fulfillment centers are still fully operational and we are extending the SLA for two core reasons:

  1. Employee safety: We halted all hiring of temporary workers and stopped overtime to ensure our employees are getting enough rest. In addition, the attendance policy is on freeze, so employees have more flexibility. We are currently hiring hundreds of fulfillment associates across our network to manage demand. With the COVID-19 spreading fast in the counties we are presently in, along with allergy season, we are expecting to see further challenges as we might see more employees get impacted and it would be best for them to not come in to work.
  2. Prioritizing essentials: To best support the greater needs of the people during this crisis and with the local and state governments putting more preventative measures in place, we are prioritizing essentials, along with the oldest orders first.

While we are working hard to fulfill as many orders the same day, we want to set proper expectations across our entire merchant base and fulfillment network.

We appreciate your patience during these times, and our mission to provide you and your customers world-class fulfillment will not change.

New international service suspensions from carriers

USPS shared that due to issues working with worldwide postal services for international shipments, they are implementing a Temporary Service Suspension to countries that are no longer able to process or deliver international mail or services originating from the United States due to service disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Note: The service suspension is in effect as of Friday, April 3, 2020. This applies to all Standard services, including DHL eCommerce, UPS Mail Innovations, and other consolidators as well.

USPS will not be able to deliver packages to the following countries:

  • Bolivia
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chad
  • Ecuador
  • French Polynesia
  • Honduras
  • India
  • Kuwait
  • Libya
  • Madagascar
  • Maldives
  • Mongolia
  • New Caledonia
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Samoa
  • Saudi Arabia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Zimbabwe

March 25, 2020: update from carriers

While processing of domestic and inbound mail from USPS is continuing as usual, shipments going from the US to Canada via USPS and Canada Post are seeing delays due to limited air network capacity.

We are seeing similar delays across other carriers due to limited air network capacity, including DHL eCommerce, UPS Mail Innovations, and Asendia. These countries include:

  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chile – Easter Island
  • China
  • Czech Republic
  • Djibouti
  • Ecuador
  • French Polynesia
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Macao
  • Madagascar
  • Maldives
  • Mauritania
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Morocco
  • Myanmar
  • New Caledonia
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Samoa
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Suriname
  • Tunisia
  • Zimbabwe

With these updates from the carriers, please expect a delay in delivery. ShipBob will not reimburse delayed scans or delivery for international shipments. We have extended the no-scan timeline for reimbursements to 5 days (from 3 days) as outlined at the end of this Help Center article.

A note on COVID-19 surcharges

DHL Express has started charging a surcharge for express shipments in light of the current COVID-19 situation. ShipBob will NOT be passing these new surcharges on to our merchants and instead absorb this cost ourselves.

March 18, 2020: UPS international shipping update

Below is the most recent USPS industry dispatch detailing alerts and notices from around the globe. These include mail stoppages, expected delays due to airline capacities/cancellations, elimination of signature services, etc. UPS Mail Innovations will continue to keep ShipBob updated as the situation develops further.

  • Lebanon – The processing of all inbound and outbound international mail conveyed via passenger air transport has been suspended until further notice.
  • Maldives – Suspended the processing of all inbound and outbound mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items) from March 19, 2020 to March 28, 2020. This will have a major impact on operations and, consequently, on quality of service for all types of mail (letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items). The disruption is expected to continue until the epidemic is over.
  • Philippines – As part of the enhanced community quarantine in Metropolitan Manila and rest of Luzon Island, a total lockdown of international air and sea transport will be imposed with effect from March 20, 2020. Domestic air, land and sea transport in areas subject to community quarantine have been under total lockdown since March 13, 2020. In view of this situation, Philippine Postal Corporation will operate as follows during the community quarantine, from March to April 12, 2020:
    • International mail processing centres will maintain a skeleton staff, in order to accept incoming international dispatches until the total lockdown of international air and sea transport on 20 March 2020.
    • All post offices in areas placed under quarantine are closed.
  • Chile – International inbound mail addressed to Easter Island will no longer be accepted. There will be delays in the processing and delivery of international inbound mail. Signature on delivery for international inbound mail will be suspended and replaced by delivery methods that limit direct physical contact.
  • Tunisia – Suspended all international flights arriving in and departing from Tunisia, owing to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with effect from March 18, 2020 and until further notice. La Poste Tunisienne is therefore declaring a situation of force majeure and ceasing to accept letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items until sufficient transport capacity becomes available.
  • French Polynesia – Unable to accept letter-post, parcel-post or EMS items from any Union member countries. OPT PF – FARE RATA is thus declaring a case of force majeure and ceasing, with immediate effect, to accept letter-post, parcel-post or EMS items from any Union member countries until March 31, 2020.
  • Honduras – Correspondence of all kinds will not be handled according to the usual delivery times and quality measurement requirements.
  • Jamaica – Implementing a restructured operations program. This will have an impact on the processing of all inbound and outbound mail, as follows:
    • Inability to guarantee delivery standards for letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items, owing to adjusted opening hours of post offices and postal agencies.
  • Germany – In order to limit the spread of the coronavirus and in the interest of the health and safety of Deutsche Post staff, special processes have been put in place for postal items subject to signature upon delivery as from Friday, March 13, 2020. Parcels and registered items that would ordinarily require the addressee’s signature can now be deposited in the addressee’s mailbox or in a secure location on their premises, with signature by the postman/postwoman on their portable device. In cases where items are delivered to the recipient in person, the postman/postwoman will likewise sign on the recipient’s behalf. These measures are aimed at avoiding contact between the recipient and the portable device.
  • Romania – Travel restrictions have led to massive cancellations of international flights. Owing to the suspension of air services to a number of international destinations, Poșta Română‎ is facing difficulties sending international postal items, and delays are to be expected for all types of inbound and outbound mail (letter post, parcels and EMS). This will have a major impact on operations and, consequently, on quality of service.
  • Cayman Islands – Suspended all international flights arriving in and departing from the jurisdiction, owing to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With immediate effect, Cayman Islands Postal Service is unable to accept further inbound mail, and will be unable to send outbound mail from March 20, 2020 to April 12, 2020.
    It is therefore declaring a situation of force majeure and ceasing to accept letter-post, parcel-post and EMS items until sufficient transport capacity becomes available.

March 15, 2020: Extended SLAs

Currently, ShipBob is open at all fulfillment centers and operating at full capacity. While we are working hard for your orders to be shipped and delivered on time, we are extending our SLAs by one business day. We anticipate this change to remain in effect until at least March 30, 2020. This is subject to change and we will update you accordingly.

There are three reasons behind this temporary change:

1. The President proclaimed that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constitutes a national emergency. For more, please read here from whitehouse.gov.

2. The school districts surrounding all United States based ShipBob fulfillment centers have closed schools. This will greatly impact our employees and we are doing everything we can to support them and their families during these times.

3. We are seeing delays with our carrier partners picking up and processing orders. We are in constant communication with all of our carrier partners and will continue to work extremely closely with each of them. As we receive specifics on carriers, we will update you.

March 5, 2020: Update from carriers

We have received updates from our carriers on suspended or closed areas for international shipments in certain countries. Here is a list of affected countries or cities:

Asia:

  • China
  • Hong Kong (As of 3/20/2020, Hongkong Post’s processing of all inbound and outbound mail, including letter-post, parcel-post, and EMS items, is now back to normal.)
  • Macao

Europe:

  • Northern Italy, including the following cities: Casalpusterlengo, Bertonico, Castiglione D’Adda, Terranova Dei Passerini, Castelgerundo, Codogno, Maleo, San Fiorano, Fombio, and Somaglia

Please find listed below a list of carriers that are not available at this time to the destinations listed above:

Standard Ship Options:

  • DHL Ecommerce: Not accepting packages to the locations listed above.
  • UPSMI: Not accepting packages to the locations listed above.
  • USPS: Accepting packages, but they will be held at domestic terminals. March 25, 2020 update: Canada Post – While processing of domestic and inbound mail from USPS is continuing as usual, shipments going from the US to Canada via USPS are seeing delays due to limited air network capacity.
  • Asendia: Accepting packages, but they will be held at domestic terminals.
  • FedEx: A surcharge of $325 applies to all shipments to China.
  • UPS: Wuhan Province only suspended; you CAN ship to rest of China, Hong Kong, and Macao.
  • DHL Express: Wuhan Province and Xian Airport suspended; you CAN ship to rest of China, Hong Kong and Macao.

Recommended Next Steps:

As a result, we recommend doing the following to address this with your customers:

1. Add a disclaimer on checkout regarding possible delays for the affected countries.

2. To help minimize any delays, you also have the option to map all international shipments to “Expedited.” Please note that the Expedited ship option is more expensive than standard ship options.

ShipBob will continue to update customers as information continues to develop.
For any questions, please contact your Merchant Success Manager or ShipBob’s Merchant Care team.

Prioritizing Fulfillment of Essentials

To handle demand, we may allocate some orders to another fulfillment center if your inventory is available to get your orders shipped on time without any additional cost to you.

With the local and state governments putting more preventative measures in place, we are anticipating the need to fulfill orders of merchants that are shipping essentials before all other orders. This includes: 

  • Hand sanitizers
  • Masks
  • Water
  • Health supplements
  • Therapeutic products
  • Baby products
  • Health and household items
  • Beauty and personal care items
  • Groceries
  • Pet supplies
  • Industrial or scientific products
  • Other essential products

While we will do our best to fulfill all orders on time, we will first prioritize products that are life-sustaining. If you are selling non-life sustaining products, there might be a delay in fulfilling orders given the circumstances. We are seeing strong attendance at our fulfillment centers so far, but we have decided to not hire any temporary workers to better protect our employee base and continue running operations.

State Declarations

Cicero, IL Fulfillment Center Updates (as of 3/20/20)

On March 20, 2020, the Governor of the State of Illinois, JB Pritzker, issued Executive Order 2020-10 (COVID-19 Executive Order No. 8) and ordered a Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation declaring all counties a disaster area in response to the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). Please read it in its entirety here.

Portions of the official statement around essential businesses and operations per “Section 1.2: All Essential Businesses and Operations are encouraged to remain open” are below:

Per Section 1.9, “For purposes of this Executive Order, individuals may leave their residence to provide any services or perform any work necessary to offer, provision, operate, maintain and repair Essential Infrastructure. Essential Infrastructure includes…distribution centers.”

Per Section 1.12.i, “Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services. Post offices and other businesses that provide shipping and delivery services, and businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, goods or services to end users or through commercial channels.”

Per Section 1.12.m, “Supplies to work from home. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply products needed for people to work from home.”

Per Section 1.12.n, “Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations. Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply other Essential Business and Operations with the support or materials necessary to operate, including computers, audio and video electronics, household appliances; IT and telecommunication equipment; hardware, paint, flat glass; electrial, plumbing and heating material; sanitary equipment; personal hygiene products; food, food additives, ingredients and components; medical and orthopedic equipment; optics and photography equipment; diagnostics, food and beverages, chemicals, soaps and detergent.”

Per Section 1.12.t, “Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries. Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitization, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportation, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications, as well as products used by other Essential Businesses and Operations.”

For more information from Governor Pritzker, please see here.
Per Governor Pritzker’s order, ShipBob is still fully operational. We will continue to monitor and follow all official guidance from the CDC, WHO, US Department of State, and local government and health agencies surrounding our fulfillment centers.

Bethlehem, PA Fulfillment Center Updates (as of 3/19/20)

On March 19, 2020, the Governor of the State of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, ordered all non-life-sustaining businesses in Pennsylvania to close their physical locations as of 8 p.m. March 19, 2020 to slow the spread of COVID-19. His official order can be read here.

As part of Governor Wolf’s announcement, a list of life sustaining businesses was included. Please see the full list here. Per this list, ShipBob is categorized within the Trade, Transportation, & Utilities industry, and the following sectors: Wholesale Trade, Retail Trade, and Transportation and Warehousing, which categorizes companies in this industry and sector as life-sustaining.
Per Governor Wolf’s order, ShipBob is still fully operational. We will continue to monitor and follow all official guidance from the CDC, WHO, US Department of State, and local government and health agencies surrounding our fulfillment centers. For more general information around Pennsylvania and COVID-19, please visit here.

Moreno Valley, CA Fulfillment Center Updates (as of 3/19/20)

On March 19, 2020, the Governor of the State of California, Gavin Newsom, issued Executive Order N-33-20. Please read it in its entirety here.

Portions of the Executive Order read as follows:

“The federal government has identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors whose assets, systems, and networks, whether physical or virtual, are considered so vital to the United States that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on security, economic security, public health or safety, or any combination thereof. I order that Californians working in these 16 critical infrastructure sectors may continue their work because of the importance of these sectors to Californians’ health and well-being.”

“The supply chain must continue, and Californians must have access to such necessities as food, prescriptions, and health care.”

For more information on the critical infrastructure sectors outlined by Governor Newsom, please see here.

Per Governor Newsom’s order, ShipBob is still fully operational. We will continue to monitor and follow all official guidance from the CDC, WHO, US Department of State, and local government and health agencies surrounding our fulfillment centers.