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Nantucket shops scrambling after UPS misses ferry bookings

March 13, 2022 GMT

NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — Shops on Nantucket that rely on UPS to bring their goods to the tiny island are bracing for trouble after the shipping company failed to make ferry reservations for its trucks this summer.

The company missed the priority window to make reservations this year, and by the time it came to light, ferries were close to full capacity for large trucks, The Boston Globe reported.

A spokesperson for UPS said it’s working to find other transportation to ensure packages are delivered on time. But some stores fear the error could end up slowing their business during the busiest time of the year.

UPS is the largest carrier of standard deliveries to the wealthy island community, and it typically files ferry requests months in advance along with other freight shippers. Many Nantucket stores rely on it to get the clothes, TVs, hardware and other goods they sell to residents and summer visitors.

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“It’s going to put us in a world of hurt,” Shantaw Bloise, business manager at the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce, told The Globe.

It was not immediately clear what led to the error, which was first reported by Nantucket Magazine.

After missing the priority booking window, UPS scrambled to get whatever spots were available for its trucks, said James Malkin, a member of the governing board of the Steamship Authority, which operates ferries to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

“But they don’t have what they need,” Malkin told The Globe.

Stephanie Correia said she relies on UPS to deliver the inventory for her Main Street store, Stephanie’s, which sells clothes and home goods. The service is crucial during the summer, she said, when her business makes 75% of its annual profits.

“It’s a lifeline for business, for homeowners, for Amazon,” she said.

Some other shop owners are looking for other ways to get their goods to the island. But some businesses and residents said they have faith the problem will be resolved.

“In Nantucket, if you make enough noise, they deal with it,” William D. Cohan, a writer who owns a house on the island, told the newspaper. “The summer folks are going to have to get their twee outfits they ordered from Hermès online.”