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Twenty-Five Years in the Air: The Silver Anniversary of UPS Airlines
Louisville, 1988

February 1 marks a major milestone for UPS Airlines — 25 years since our first flight on our own operating certificate. The airline set the stage for our worldwide expansion, starting with a single DC-8 flight from Louisville to Milwaukee.

The launch of the airline marked a significant change for UPS. Long-known for dependable delivery of packages across the United States, air operations enabled us to expand internationally. Now we serve more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, and UPS aircraft are a familiar sight at airports across the globe.

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Worldport Turns 10: Happy Birthday
UPS 757 at Worldport

Today marks the 10-year anniversary of the official grand opening of the largest, fully-automated package handling facility in the world. Ten years ago, UPS employees, customers, board members and local, state and government officials gathered in Louisville, Kentucky for a press event to celebrate the facility’s grand opening and to be among the first to hear its new name: Worldport.

Today, Worldport handles about 130 aircraft daily and processes an average of 1.6 million packages a day, with a record 3.6 million packages processed on peak day in 2011. The facility measures 5.2 million square feet — the equivalent of more than 90 football fields — with a perimeter of 7.2 miles. It contains 155 miles of conveyors with the capacity for sorting 416,000 packages per hour.

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This Friday Night – Worldport on CNBC

So I think this is a first, a UPS blog entry set to Katy Perry’s pop chart topper, Last Friday Night. Only this entry is about this Friday night, Sept. 7, when you should turn on CNBC at 9 p.m. to watch the Ultimate Factories episode featuring Worldport, our international air express hub.

I had the opportunity to work on that show, along with colleagues Jackie Blair and Dan McMackin, and I can tell you it’s really good – probably better than the lyrics below:

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UPS Goes Off Limits on the Travel Channel
Travel Channel's Off Limits

I don’t watch a ton of TV, but of the few shows I do watch, I’m crazy about Off Limits.  And lo and behold, after watching the program for over a year I got the chance to help producers of the show tell the story of UPS’s global air hub, Worldport.  I guess it’s my version of “15 minutes of fame.”  I got a chance to work with the show’s host and a really nice production crew, along with all the awesome UPSers who make Worldport the “eighth wonder of the world.”

The first segment aired last weekend.  The show’s host, Don Wildman, took us on a tour of what makes this massive facility so unique – and interesting.  Don got a chance to “fly” in a UPS flight simulator.  It’s as close as you can get to the real thing.  Watch the video of Don taking a tour of our Global Operations Center.

Segment two is airing this Sunday, July 29th, at 9 a.m. on the Travel Channel.  Worldport itself is the center of attention.  Don and his crew take us on a journey to see the miles of conveyors, high tech scanning equipment, in-coming aircraft and the people who make it all seamless to the outside world.  Be sure to check it out.

65 of Us Against 60,000 of Them
bug nets

Did you know that UPS has a Beetle Exclusion Team? These “bug busters” work to ensure that Japanese beetles don’t catch a ride on UPS aircraft. They are assigned to all aircraft going to West Coast destinations — regions that are responsible for producing more than 60 percent of the United States’ produce and flowers. The beetles themselves are unable to fly across the Rocky Mountains area and are sometimes transported via airplane to the West Coast where, if untreated, they could be devastating to the nation’s food supplies.

The Japanese beetle invasion around Louisville (where WorldPort is located) and other gateways typically begins in June and lasts for a couple of months.  But due to a mild winter and unseasonably warm temperatures this spring, UPS bug busters are unsure how this season will play out.

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Bringing Hope to Haiti
Jerry Rutherford

The effects of the earthquake that ravaged Haiti in 2010 continue to affect the small island nation and its people. Immediately following the quake, UPS committed $1 million in cash and in-kind shipping to three humanitarian relief organizations: CARE, the Red Cross, and UNICEF to support the victims of Haiti’s earthquake.

UPSers also stepped up to support the Haitian people. Several have been activated as part of the World Food Programme’s Logistics Emergency Team and other have helped through their communities. One such UPSer is Jerry Rutherford, an employee at UPS Worldport.

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Beyond the Ordinary
UPS package lab

In 1949, the New Yorker Magazine sent writer Phillip Hamburger to see what kind of operation was being run by a then middle-aged Jim Casey, founder of UPS. Hamburger’s story focused on Jim’s nearly maniacal devotion to department store packages.  They were UPS’s bread and butter during the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. The New Yorker writer soon found out that Jim looked at packages like a jeweler looks at diamonds, each one special in its own right. It was during this era that a phrase was coined that still adorns the walls of local UPS facilities: Every Parcel a Guest of Honor. Sounding a bit archaic today, the slogan still holds solid meaning for UPSers like Worldport Security Manager Jeff Savage.

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UPS Gears Up for Holiday Logistics
UPS holiday cookies

It’s hard to think the holidays are almost here! Thanksgiving is in two weeks and it’s just 45 days until Christmas. But here at UPS, we’ve been working on holiday logistics all year. We’ve added an extra 55,000 brown-suited elves who we predict will help deliver more than 120 million packages in just the week before – that’s almost 300 gifts every second on our busiest day!  Worldport in Louisville is our North Pole – where a lot of those packages pass on the way to your Christmas tree.  

This year, fashionistas will be shopping on the private-sales site the Gilt Groupe – one of the leaders in the e-retail industry and UPS will deliver thousands of those holiday orders.

5 Questions with a UPS Logistics Leader: The Meteorologist
UPS Global Operations Center

UPS has been recognized as a leader in logistics.  We can manage the most intricate details of any small package or heavy freight move – whether it’s getting Grandma’s cookies to your front door, critical service parts to a hospital half-way around the world or a polar bear cub cross-country to its new habitat.

Literally hundreds of thousands of UPS’s “logistics leaders” work behind the scenes every day to make it all come together.  We’ll introduce you to a few of them whose jobs may not come top of mind when you think of Big Brown.  You’ll get an inside look at how their unique jobs fit into UPS’s logistics story.

Meet Randy Baker.  He’s been with UPS for 21 years, the last 17 in the meteorology department.  Randy is based in Louisville, Kentucky, at Worldport, UPS’s all-points international air hub.

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Washington Comes to Louisville
Planes at UPS Worldport
U.S. Treasury Secretary visits Worldport to discuss nation’s infrastructure

Highlighting the need for Congress to pass U.S. President Barack Obama’s American Jobs Act proposals to create jobs and invest in our nation’s infrastructure, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner recently toured UPS’s Worldport facility. Also on the agenda was a roundtable meeting with local business leaders, including CEO Scott Davis.

“If our businesses are to grow and create jobs, if our economy is to climb decisively and swiftly out of its stagnant hole, we and our leaders need to be practical. In the transportation business, that means finding a way to keep our infrastructure from unraveling,” said Scott.

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