Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Malatcha Pigott, of Long Beach, is part of a steady stream of people making their way through the line at a United States Post Office on Redondo Ave. in Long Beach. December is always the busiest month for shipping packages, but this year's bigger-than-ever e-commerce push has put even more stress on delivery companies.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

Parcels make their way along some of Worldport's 155 miles of conveyor belts in Louisville, Ky. If everything goes right, the packages are just touched twice by humans: first when pulled out of large aircraft shipping containers and then again at the end of their journey through the conveyors and into a new bin and another jet.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

Workers inside a UPS operations center prepare for planes to begin arriving with their goods at Worldport, which is the size of 90 football fields, in Louisville, Ky.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

A worker walks on a ramp between cargo planes after they were unloaded at UPS' Worldport facility in Louisville, Ky. In a five hour period at Worldport, 130 planes have landed, unloaded, reloaded and returned to the skies.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

A UPS worker pulls a container full of packages across a floor embedded with casters at Worldport in Louisville, Ky. FedEx and UPS have a combined 947 million packages to deliver between Black Friday and Christmas Eve -- up 8 percent from last holiday season's forecasts.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

UPS workers push a container full of packages into place inside an airplane at Worldport in Louisville, Ky.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

Rachel Fryer prepares to place a package inside a container behind her at Worldport in Louisville, Ky. Each container typically holds about 400 packages.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

A package rides along a conveyor belt at UPS' Worldport facility in Louisville, Ky. FedEx and UPS have a combined 947 million packages to deliver between Black Friday and Christmas Eve -- up 8 percent from last holiday season's forecasts.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

A worker walks below a scan tunnel, seen at top emitting red light, inside a wing at Worldport in Louisville, Ky.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

A photo made with a slow shutter speed show an airplane taking off above UPS planes as they are loaded with shipments at Worldport in Louisville, Ky. In a five hour period at Worldport, 130 planes have landed, unloaded, reloaded and returned to the skies.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

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The humming is constant; a low-pitched drone from 155 miles of conveyer belts racing packages in every direction. Boxes shift from one belt to another and bump into a metal wall. Thud. Thud. Thud. In the background, trucks beep and jet engines roar.

As more gift-givers shop online, there are more packages to ship. Online sales now account for 10 percent of all shopping and 15 percent during the holidays, according to research firm Forrester. That leaves FedEx and UPS with a combined 947 million packages to deliver between Black

Friday and Christmas Eve – up 8 percent from last holiday season’s forecasts.

For UPS, the key to getting all those last-second orders delivered on time is Worldport, a massive sorting facility located between the Louisville airport’s two main runways. On a typical night, 1.6 million packages pass through. Just before Christmas, there can be 4 million, peaking on Monday night.

– Associated Press

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