Why Is FedEx So Slow? (11 Reasons Why Your Delivery Might Be Delayed)

FedEx may succeed in delivering nearly 85% of its packages on time, however, that still means that 15% arrive later than expected. If you’re part of the group that has experienced delayed deliveries, then it only makes sense to wonder why.

In this article, we’ll discuss 11 reasons why your FedEx delivery might be delayed. So, if you’re frustrated about slow deliveries, then be sure to read this article to learn more!

Why Is FedEx So Slow In 2024?

FedEx deliveries can be delayed for a variety of reasons in 2024. Some of these reasons, like bad weather and traffic incidents, are out of FedEx’s control. Geographic reasons, like having an address outside of the Contiguous United States or living in a rural area are also major factors contributing to slower deliveries.

This article covers many more explanations for why FedEx is so slow, so be sure to keep reading for more useful facts and tips!

1. You Live Outside of the Contiguous United States

Perhaps one of the most obvious reasons your FedEx delivery is so slow is because you live in Alaska, Hawaii, or a U.S. territory like Puerto Rico or Guam.

As a point of reference, FedEx Ground delivery takes 1 to 5 business days within the lower 48 states. In Alaska and Hawaii, the average is 3 to 7 business days.

These places are harder for FedEx to reach due to their location.

Indeed, FedEx has to rely on air transportation for the bulk of the journey, rather than tapping into its well-developed Ground network.

What’s more, air transportation is more expensive than ground transportation, so FedEx waits for a plane to fill up before dispatching it. Naturally, this means slower delivery times.

2. You Live in a Rural Area

Living in a rural area is another geography-related reason why FedEx deliveries are slow.

These areas are usually far from urban centers and spread out, making them more difficult for FedEx to serve in a timely manner.

Rural areas within FedEx’s delivery network will likely experience slower delivery times because of the limited availability of shipping options.

For example, many rural communities only have the option of FedEx’s Ground Economy service (formerly SmartPost).

This service uses USPS for the “last mile” of delivery and thus is much slower than other FedEx offerings.

As such, those living in rural areas will more than likely experience slower FedEx deliveries than those living in more densely populated areas.

3. It’s the Holiday Season

E-commerce has been a booming industry for several years now, and its growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down. That’s especially true in the period between Black Friday and New Year.

In fact, during the 2021 holiday season, FedEx delivered 100 million more packages than it did during the 2019 holiday season.

Despite this massive increase in volume, FedEx succeeded in delivering 96.5% of orders on time. However, more than 2 million parcels arrived after Christmas.

4. Bad Weather

Things like blizzards, tornados, and hurricanes can massively slow down FedEx deliveries.

However, there are many things the shipping company does to minimize the impact of bad weather and keep packages moving.

For example, FedEx has a Global Operations Control Center that allows drivers to make routing and operational changes within minutes of spotting bad weather.

What’s more, the company employs a staff of 15 meteorologists who can accurately predict weather changes and make suggestions accordingly.

But even with these systems in place, weather can be a difficult obstacle to overcome.

5. The Recipient Wasn’t there to Accept the Package

Some FedEx services require the recipient to sign for the delivery.

If no one is there to accept the package, FedEx will hold onto it and either redeliver another day or have the recipient come to pick up the package.

This will slow down delivery by at least a day and could be a major inconvenience for customers who aren’t available during FedEx’s delivery window.

6. There’s a Mistake with the Delivery Address

6. There’s a Mistake with the Delivery Address

It may be hard to believe, but incorrect or incomplete addresses are a major reason behind FedEx’s delayed deliveries.

This could happen because of buyer error. For instance, a buyer may type the wrong address into the shipping address field. Or, they may forget a suite letter or apartment number.

This could lead to the package getting delivered to the wrong address or getting held in a FedEx office.

It’s also possible that a FedEx driver misread the address due to carelessness or damage to the label.

In either case, issues with the delivery address can lead to slower delivery times as FedEx works with the customer to correct the problem.

7. Your Package Got Lost in the Shuffle

While rare, it is possible that your package gets overlooked and/or misplaced in a FedEx warehouse somewhere.

It may seem hard to believe, but FedEx processes 12 million packages per day. With a volume like that, it’s no wonder that some packages don’t make it out the door for delivery. 

If this happens to one of your packages, it’s worth looking up the phone number of the FedEx warehouse where your item appears to be stuck.

Alerting an employee to the issue may help move your delivery along.

8. FedEx Is Understaffed

There’s no hiding the fact that FedEx is severely understaffed. In fact, the company reroutes more than 600,000 packages a day because there isn’t enough staff to process them.

It comes as no surprise, then, that all of these rerouted packages take longer to get where they’re going.

9. FedEx Couldn’t Access the Delivery Location

If a FedEx driver is unable to access your residence (whether because of a locked gate, a loose dog, or something else), they will not leave your package.

Instead, they will leave a tag on the door informing you of their next delivery attempt. That could be the next day or later in the week.

Naturally, having to wait for redelivery will prolong the time it takes for you to get your package.

10. The Sender Selected a Slower Delivery Service

Most people associate FedEx with fast delivery (the ‘Ex’ does stand for ‘express,’ after all), but only some services promise overnight, next day, or 2-day delivery.

Others, like FedEx Ground or FedEx Ground Economy, have delivery times more in line with USPS. In other words, these deliveries could take anywhere from 1 to 5 days.

So, if you feel like you’ve been waiting for your package for a while, double-check which FedEx service is doing the shipping, as that could be the reason your item is taking so long to arrive.

11. FedEx Started Using Contract Drivers

Years ago, FedEx started using third-party delivery services as part of its delivery network.

While these contractors may drive FedEx trucks, they are able to define their own routes and set their own schedules.

Some of these contractors are very professional and do a good job of living up to FedEx’s high standards, and others are simply in it for the paycheck.

If your package ends up in the hands of one of these less-than-stellar companies, that could explain why you’re experiencing slow delivery.

If you are looking to learn more, you can also read our posts on why is FedEx so expensive, why is FedEx so bad, and what is FedEx Express.


FedEx does its best to make sure customers get their packages in a timely manner. In most cases, drivers succeed. However, there are tons of reasons why your package may get delivered later than expected.

Responsibility for some of these reasons, like being understaffed, lies squarely on FedEx’s shoulders. In other cases, the responsibility falls on the customer. Still, there are things like bad weather and the holiday season that no one can control.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of QuerySprout.com.

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