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FedEx drivers deliver holiday cheer in the form of packages

Monday was one of the busiest days of the year for FedEx, which said it would deliver more than 17 million packages that day, up 9 percent from last year.
BY JENNIFER PALMER jpalmer@opubco.com Published: December 13, 2011

For FedEx courier Ray Beltrane, Christmastime means long, 12- to 14-hour shifts and the start of cold, often icy or snowy weather. But he doesn't seem to mind.

It's also the time of year when he spreads holiday cheer by dropping much anticipated gifts on residents' doorsteps.

“I love it,” Beltrane said Monday while driving his route in the Edgemere Park neighborhood. “Everybody's happy to see you.”

The bulk of his package deliveries these days are from online retailers. A peek at some parcels ready for transport inside the Oklahoma City distribution center at 4220 N Santa Fe showed many were from Radioshack.com, Amazon.com and Walmart.com — one was even headed to North Pole, Alaska.

FedEx was expected to handle more than 17 million packages Monday, its busiest day this year. That's 9 percent more than last year and almost double what FedEx ships on a normal day.

About 55 drivers handle the deliveries for the N Santa Fe Avenue facility, said Nathan Crawford, operations manager. They start loading their trucks about 6 a.m., begin their routes around 8 a.m. and wrap up their day by 4:30 or 5 p.m.

Beltrane, a FedEx driver for 19 years, was wearing shorts Monday, despite the chilly, forty-something temps. He makes a stop an average of every three minutes and goes through the same routine: shut off the truck, grab a package, hustle to the recipient's door. Then back in the truck, click the seat belt and on to the next.

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Need a package delivered by Christmas? Here are shipping deadlines for FedEx, UPS and the Postal Service.

• FedEx: Monday for regular home delivery; two-day, overnight and same-day delivery available, even on Christmas Day.

• UPS: Tuesday, Dec. 20 for 3-Day Select, Thursday, Dec. 22 for 2nd Day Air or Friday, Dec. 23 for Next Day Air; there is a $15 surcharge for Saturday delivery.

• United States Postal Service: Thursday for Parcel Post, Monday for international shipping, Tuesday for First-Class Mail, Wednesday for Priority Mail and Thursday for Express Mail.

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