Shipping mania: rushing to deliver millions of holiday gifts

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — 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.

Forget jingling bells and ho-ho-hos, these are now the sounds of the holidays.

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.

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