Blog | December 4, 2018

Lead Batteries Help Deliver Holiday Joy During “Shipocalypse”

‘Tis the season for giving and receiving gifts, with consumers expected to spend more than $700 billion in holiday retail sales, according to the National Retail Federation. This year, after you’ve thanked the generous gift givers, don’t forget to also thank… lead batteries. Here’s why.

For most people, holiday shopping goes like this: find gift online, place order online, have gift delivered. In fact, the United Parcel Service (UPS) alone expects to deliver a record 800 million packages between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve in 2018, or about 30 million packages a day.

But without lead batteries, those goods might not get to your decorated doorstep. Lead batteries play an essential role in shipping packages, from the moment you place your order, to final delivery.

What Lead Batteries Do

The logistics of moving the tons of cardboard boxes and packaging is complex. It’s creating change in everything from the need for architects to design bigger package rooms in buildings, to cities grappling with how to safely manage more delivery trucks on congested streets.

A constant in this dynamic environment is the reliability of lead batteries as a primary energy storage source to keep your purchases moving. The pathway works like this:

  • First, your order is received by a data center that houses the computers and telecommunications systems that host e-commerce websites. These centers rely on an uninterruptible power supply, fueled by lead batteries. If the power goes out, the Internet stays on, supporting a communications infrastructure valued at more than $1 trillion.
  • Second, a fulfillment center then receives your order, where robots and forklifts “pick and ship” your selected items. These centers – picture Amazon, which ships 3 million packages daily – rely on lead batteries to help operations run smoothly. Fact: More than 65 percent of all forklifts in the U.S. contain and rely on lead batteries.
  • Finally, major carriers like UPS, the United States Postal Service and FedEx deliver those millions of packages in the final pre-holiday weeks in vehicles powered by lead batteries. And there are a lot of them. All three carriers project a record-breaking, peak-shipping season this year. The USPS expects to handle nearly 15 billion pieces of mail and 900 million packages for a total of nearly 16 billion cheerful deliveries this holiday season, and FedEx anticipates a volume of about 400 million packages. On their busiest day ever, December 10 of last year, it took in more than 19 million packages (or 200 per second).

What you may not realize is that not only the 18-wheelers, vans and cars that deliver your packages are powered by lead batteries, but also the airplanes that cross the country moving freight. In fact, Forbes reports that “more than 1,000 dedicated freighter aircraft….will be operating to, from and within the United States virtually every day between now and Christmas.”

So when you open those holiday gifts, thank the giver and thank the lead batteries. They provide the essential, irreplaceable link that powers the transportation and logistics that fuel our economy and helps to deliver some of that holiday joy.

This is an updated version of a December 2017 post.

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Alan French from QTS Data Centers

Data is critical. Data is growing at a rapid rate, and energy storage [and] battery backup systems are key in keeping our data centers available.

Alan French, Vice President of Engineering, QTS Data Centers