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Q2 2014 Earnings

July 29, 2014
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About UPS

  • 1907 1907-1913 Creating a Messenger Service
  • 1913 1913-1918 Retail Beginnings
  • 1918 1918-1930 Entering the Common Carrier Era
  • 1930 1930-1975 Expansion and Transformation
  • 1975 1975-1990 International Growth and UPS Airlines
  • 1990 1990-1999 Consistent Innovation
  • 1999 1999-2010 Global Commerce and Evolution
  • 2010 - 2014 2010-2014 The New Logistics

1930-1975: Expansion and Transformation

UPS grew throughout the 1930s and early 1940s by acquiring delivery responsibilities for department stores in Chicago, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia. Fuel and rubber shortages during World War II, combined with rationing of most retail goods, led stores to limit delivery services and encouraged customers to carry their packages home themselves.

After the war ended, America witnessed the development of the suburbs, and new consumer trends emerged. More Americans were buying cars and shopping at suburban malls with large parking lots. UPS recognized that its role in home delivery services for department stores was limited, and its management pursued new growth opportunities.

UPS management sought to expand its breadth of services. In 1953 UPS began common carrier operations by providing package transportation services to the public in cities where the company did not require authorization by the state commerce commissioner or the Interstate Commerce Commission to do so. During the same year, Chicago became the first city outside of California in which UPS offered common carrier service. Amid the determined pursuit of common carrier service deregulation, the company reintroduced air service, offering two-day delivery to major East and West Coast cities in 1953. As with the previous effort, UPS shipments flew on regular commercial flights.

The expansion effort was fraught with challenges. Strict state and federal regulations limited access and entry to major markets. In some instances, shippers were required to transfer a package between several carriers before it reached its final destination. UPS faced unprecedented legal battles to obtain the proper certification to operate over areas wide enough to satisfy growing public demand for its unique services. Over the course of 30 years, UPS pursued more than 100 applications for additional operating authority. By winning these challenges, UPS effectively laid the groundwork for other delivery companies to compete in the marketplace. In 1975, UPS became the first package delivery company to serve every address in the 48 continental United States. This momentous convergence of service areas became known within UPS as the "Golden Link."