FedEx, UPS Unite to Compel Policy Reforms

by | Aug 16, 2017

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In a bold move, the heads of the two domestic parcel giants have come together hoping to wield the combined clout of their companies.

In a co-authored Wall Street Journal op-ed published Aug. 14, UPS chairman and CEO David Abney and his counterpart at FedEx, Fred Smith, urged Congress and the Trump Administration to work toward enacting policy reforms and ensuring the United States remains competitive globally by calling for:

  • Lower corporate tax rates and a simplified tax code to spur increased economic growth, innovation, and productivity.
  • Investments in infrastructure modernization, particularly to roads, bridges, and air and seaports.
  • Emphasis free and fair trade.

“While the business community has diverse interests, every company should agree on basic policy priorities if we want to be globally competitive,” the pair wrote. “That’s why we are speaking out together — two fierce competitors, UPS and FedEx, who battle daily in the global marketplace but stand shoulder to shoulder on the need to make government policies more equitable, growth-oriented and simple.”

Although it’s unusual to see these bitter rivals join forces publicly, it makes sense given the increasing complexity of modern logistics and the connectivity of the global economy. UPS and FedEx each stand to gain from these proposed reforms – or be hurt equally by inaction – as they play in the same sandbox and are affected by the same forces.

“Both UPS and FedEx are competing to stay ahead of the booming e-commerce market by expanding and launching new technologies,” Abney and Smith wrote in the WSJ op-ed. “With the right policies in places, everyone can prosper.”

Now, instead of engaging in competitive push-and-pull (see the recent divergent peak season pricing announcements as the latest example), they’re cooperating to put pressure elsewhere: Washington.