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Shipping delays felt nationwide, FedEx reports startling numbers

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BATON ROUGE - A shortage of workers is putting the brakes on shipping. FedEx is blaming workforce issues for causing serious delays, many felt in our area.

As FedEx trucks move in and out of the Baton Rouge hub Thursday, packages are headed for delivery. But some people tell 2 On Your Side it's not happening at the rate they're used to.

"Their timing, there's something wrong with their timing," Debbie Calandro said.

They're talking about packages that are in transit for weeks or pending delivery for days. Some sit in one location for days at a time or arrive in their city of delivery and sit there.

Calandro has been waiting on three packages.

"One of them since Sept. 2, one since Sept. 14, and one probably for about five days," she said.

All of them are perishable items. One of them has been sitting in Baton Rouge since Sunday and has a pending delivery.

"I'm sure the food will be rotten, they usually get here within 24-48 hours. The flowers I'm sure will be dead," she said.

FedEx says it's an issue all over, and the problem centers around a shortage of workers. FedEx revealed this week that at one hub in Portland, Oregon it's operating with about 65% of the staffing needed to handle its normal volume. It's resulting in FedEx diverting 25% of the volume that would normally flow through the hub there. FedEx says across the ground network, more than 600,000 packages are being rerouted daily.

FedEx says it's looking to hire about 90,000 people ahead of the fast-approaching busy season. In Baton Rouge, FedEx says it's still dealing with the aftereffects of Ida and Nicholas.

In the meantime, Calandro says she's called her dog food company and asked that they not ship through FedEx until the issues have been straightened out.

FedEx announced this week its rates are going up at the beginning of the year. The increase is about 6% and a little more for freight. FedEx says the increases will help continue to balance capacity and demand.

Service delays may vary. FedEx says it's based on a number of factors including the amount of medical and perishable shipments that are being prioritized for delivery. Already, stores and shipping companies are warning people to get ready for possibly holiday delays.

Calandro tells 2 On Your Side one of her packages did eventually arrive Thursday.

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