With a little over two weeks left before Christmas, it's crunch time for shoppers –- and shippers too.
FedEx is projecting that it will have its busiest shipping day of the year Monday, delivering an estimated 19 million packages worldwide and shattering the previous record of 17.2 million packages on Dec. 12, 2011.
Strong online sales, mainly, have buoyed shipping volumes this year, the company said, adding that it expects to deliver 280 million packages worldwide between Thanksgiving and Christmas -- a 13% year-over-year surge.
Meanwhile, United Parcel Service predicted its holiday shipping to increase by 10% to 527 million packages.
The predawn scene Monday at FedEx's regional sorting hub at LAX seemed to bear out the projections. A small army of employees oversaw a maze of fast-moving conveyor belts, chutes and catwalks carrying all manner of holiday shipments -- skinny cylinders, oversized boxes full of car parts and lots of boxes marked with Amazon's signature smiling arrow.