How to Get UPS Peak Season Freight in 2021: Everything Carriers Need to Know

With the holidays around the corner, retailers are preparing for their busiest season and building up inventory across the country. 

UPS, one of the largest carriers in North America, will experience a huge uptick in load volume from their holiday shippers beginning in early November. 

As a UPS company, Coyote is uniquely positioned to offer carriers exclusive access to dedicated loads during retail's busiest season.

Want to participate? You can let us know here.

If you want to learn a little more about 2021 UPS Peak Season first, this guide will tell you everything you need to know:


UPS Peak Season brings Coyote network carriers consistent rates and volume in Q4.


What is UPS Peak Season?

Every November, as retailers gear up for the holiday shopping and more imports start coming in off the West Coast ports, UPS Peak Season begins.

Due to the surge in order volume, UPS (and every other parcel shipper) gets a tremendous influx of freight during this time, making it their busiest shipping season of the year, a.k.a. “Peak Season.”

Because this volume is seasonal, UPS leverages third-party carrier capacity to help move all that time-sensitive freight to provide great service to customers and consumers. 


Who can participate in UPS Peak Season?

UPS Peak Season is open to all carriers who are currently in Coyote’s carrier network.

To join Coyote’s carrier network so you can participate in UPS Peak Season opportunities, click here.


Important Dates for Peak Season 2021

[UPDATE] The Peak Season 2020 bid opened on August 19 and closed on September 9.

We have not set the official date for the 2021 bid, but if you have driver capacity and are interested, let us know what works for your network and we will make sure to notify you once it is set.


I Want to Participate


Where are UPS Peak Season opportunities? What regions apply?

Expedited Peak opportunities are available in the 48 contiguous states.

Local Peak opportunities are available to U.S. carriers in all 50 states.


How Can I Participate in Peak?

To participate in Peak, carriers must submit a bid and include the following information to be considered:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Company
  • MC number
  • Which bid you are submitting (i.e. Local/Local Regional Freight and/or Expedited Freight)
  • Willingness to relocate (Y/N)
  • Willingness to be flexible with destinations (Y/N)
  • City you wish to start in
  • Number of team drivers
  • Number of solo drivers
  • Number of power units
  • UIIA certification status
  • T-endorsement driver status


I Want to Participate


Why Carriers Love Participating in Peak Season

As a UPS company, Coyote plays a key role in helping UPS procure carrier capacity throughout their Peak season.

This gives carriers in the Coyote network unique access to dedicated daily loads.

During last year's Peak Season, 1,272 carriers in the Coyote network hauled over 60,000 loads.

Carriers love participating in UPS Peak season. Here are some reasons why:

  • More available freight
  • Consistent revenue
  • Virtually no wait times at facilities
  • 24/7 specialized Coyote support
  • Digital load management
  • Single and team driver opportunities
  • Cash incentives for expedited runs

Learn more about why carriers love participating in Peak Season.       


2 Types of Peak Freight: Local & Expedited

There are two different ways carriers can participate in UPS Peak Season. Review the details of each so you can decide what's right for your business.


1. Local Peak Season Freight

There are two types of "Local" peak season freight — Local and Local-Regional — but all Local drivers need to be prepared to run both.

These schedules are set daily and vary between the two based on real-time UPS needs. 

Here are the basics for all local opportunities:

  • All opportunities require single, power only drivers.
  • Drivers must arrive with fresh Hours of Service (HOS) and be prepared to run straight through.
  • Drivers must be enabled for real-time digital tracking.
  • Drivers will end their HOS back at their origin point, regardless of work type.
  • Though not required for all loads, T Endorsements, HUT Stickers and UIIA Certifications are all beneficial.
  • 75% of UPS work is in the late afternoon or evening.

And here are some specifics for Local and Local-Regional:


  • Schedule: Daily, 10-hour shift
  • Pay Type: Flat rate per day (per driver)
  • Work Type: Multiple local shuttle runs between UPS hubs, customer facilities and railroad ramps


  • Schedule: Daily, typically 400+ miles (all drivers will return to origin within HOS)
  • Pay Type: Daily flat rate or per mile — whichever is greater per shift
  • Work Type: Multi-stop, regional runs between UPS hubs, customer facilities and railroad ramps


2. Expedited Peak Season Freight

Expedited Peak Season freight involves longer-haul transfers and has slightly different requirements than Local freight.

Due to carefully planned UPS schedules, there is very little flexibility in transit.

There are expedited opportunities for both single drivers and driver teams, with driver teams typically running ~5,000 miles a week, and single drivers running ~2,500.

All drivers must be integrated into one of our shipment tracking options.


Here are the basic details for Expedited:

  • Schedule: Carriers must have 24/7 dispatch
  • Pay Type: Per mile rate, based on total miles moved per route
  • Work Type: Drop-and-hook, multi-leg runs between UPS hubs and customer facilities


Cash Incentive for Expedited Freight

This year, Coyote is giving away $300,000 to carriers that haul expedited freight this Peak Season.

All participating carriers will be automatically entered into this cash-prize contest; one driver team equals one content entry, so carriers can have multiple entries.

UPDATE: The Coyote Logistics Peak Team Contest has ended and entry is now closed. Thank you to all who participated.

Certifications to Get Access to More Peak Opportunities

There are two common certifications that are necessary to haul many Peak Season loads: UIIA Participation and T Endorsements.

While neither are required to participate in Peak, having one or both will give you access to more opportunities.

UIIA Participation

Many UPS Peak Season loads go in and out of intermodal rail facilities. To be eligible for these opportunities, carriers will need to have Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement (UIIA) participation, which allows drivers to access rail facilities. 

For more information about UIIA participation, access the UIIA reference guide.

T Endorsement

Many UPS Peak Season loads also consist of multiple smaller trailers (pup trailers). To be eligible for these opportunities, drivers will need to have a T Endorsement on their commercial driver’s license (CDL), which allows them to haul multiple trailers simultaneously. 

For more information about T Endorsements, visit the CDL issuing state’s DMV website.


Have More Peak Season Questions?

If you have any additional questions about participating in UPS Peak Season this year, reach out to your Coyote rep.

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