You’ve ordered something online from a retailer, or maybe off of eBay, and in checking the USPS shipping status you see a delivery message stating “Arrived Shipping Partner Facility, USPS Awaiting Item”.
What This Means
This means that your item was initially taken to or picked up by a third party shipping carrier, who will partially transport the item and then will transfer the item to a USPS hub for “final mile” delivery.
These shipping partners are referred to as parcel expeditors, aggregators and consolidators because they presort and consolidate a high volume of packages (50 or more), and ship them via ground delivery to the appropriate USPS hub location. In return, USPS provides these partners with discounted Parcel Select rates. Retailers and eBay sellers uses these partners to leverage these lower Parcel Select shipping costs.
If this third party shipping carrier updates USPS once the item leaves their facility, you will see an updated delivery status message stating “Departed Shipping Partner Facility”.
But in many cases, the delivery status will not be updated until the item has been transferred to USPS and/or is out for delivery.
In 2016, USPS said it would be enhancing its delivery messaging to include the name of the shipping partner, but over four years later that has not yet taken effect.
So Where Is Your Item?
You item could still be sitting at the shipping partner’s facility, or hopefully it is currently in transit.
Shipping partners utilize USPS Parcel Select ground shipment. This does not provide a guaranteed delivery date like Priority Mail; USPS states that non-sorted Parcel Select can average 2-8 delivery days. Because shipping partners pre-sort the packages, USPS usually completes the “final mile” delivery once the item reaches their hub within 1-3 days. But…that does not include the amount of time the item is in transit with the shipping partner.
While some shipping partners may not update USPS regarding the status of an item in their possession, they may provide tracking updates on their own websites. As USPS shipping partners, many (but not all) also use the same USPS tracking number for tracking items currently in their possession.
This allows you to check delivery status on the carrier’s website. Because delivery messages don’t include the name of the shipping partner yet, you probably won’t know which shipping partner has your item unless you ask the retailer or seller that originally shipped the item. A quick way to bypass contacting the seller and then patiently wait for a reply is to check the tracking number with some of the more common shipping partners first.
Where To Initially Check Shipping Partner Delivery Status?
It only takes a few seconds to paste your tracking number into a shipping partner’s website to see if they recognize the code.
Here are links to some of the five most common shipping partner tracking pages. Enter the USPS tracking number you received to see if your item is in their system.
- FedEx SmartPost https://www.fedex.com/apps/fedextrack
- UPS SurePost https://www.ups.com/track
- OSM Worldwide https://www.osmworldwide.com/tracking
- DHL Global Mail https://webtrack.dhlglobalmail.com/
- Newgistics http://tracking.smartlabel.com/
Why Is Shipping And Delivery Taking So Long?
Again, there is no guaranteed delivery date with Parcel Select as there is with Priority Mail. And when a shipping partner is utilized, the shipping partner must have at least 50 packages to deliver to a USPS hub in order to receive the discounted shipping price. So your item might leave the shipping partner’s original facility and be transported to a shipping partner’s facility that is located closer to its final destination before making its way to USPS.
USPS states that Parcel Select delivery (unsorted) can average 2-8 days. But when a seller utilizes a shipping partner, that may add another 2-8 days on to the delivery time or longer if they hold onto your item until they have enough (50 or more) packages to deliver to a specific USPS hub.
When should you worry about delivery of your item? That depends on 3 things. Were you given an estimated delivery date when you purchased the item, is it being shipped domestically, and have no tracking updates have occurred in a week? If so, it is not unreasonable to contact the seller if more than 3 days have passed beyond the estimated delivery date.