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How to Get UPS Peak Season Freight in 2023: Everything Carriers Need to Know

As the holiday season draws closer, retailers prepare for their busiest season, building up inventory across the country. 

And UPS — one of the largest carriers in North America — moves a big portion of all that freight.

Beginning in early November, the UPS network experiences a huge uptick in load volume from their holiday shippers.

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

Looking for consistent rates & loads this Q4?

You've come to the right place. You can fill out the form now to indicate your interest:

Express Interest in Peak 2023

Or, if you want to learn a little more about UPS Peak Season first, continue reading this guide to find everything you need to know.

Carrier's Guide to UPS Peak Season with Coyote

What Is UPS Peak Season?

Every November, retailers gear up for the holiday shopping season and bring in more imports, primarily into the West Coast ports — this is when UPS Peak Season begins.

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

For most of the year, UPS relies on their own network of trucks and drivers to handle their freight, but during Peak Season, UPS supplements their network with third-party carrier capacity to help move all those time-sensitive shipments.

And Coyote, as a UPS company, helps them to find that carrier capacity — which means opportunities for trucking companies like yours.


Who Can Participate in UPS Peak Season?

UPS Peak Season is open to all carriers in Coyote’s network.

To access Peak Season freight, you have to join Coyote’s carrier network.


Important Dates for Peak Season 2023

There are several ways to participate in Peak Season.

You can learn more about each type of freight, but here are the key dates to remember: 

  • July 25, 2023: Registration opens for Peak Bids (Local, Expedited, and Pre-Peak Trailer Repositioning)
  • August 10-25, 2023: Pre-Peak Trailer Repositioning bid (2 rounds)
  • August 30-September 18, 2023: Local & Expedited bids (2 rounds each)

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, fill out our Peak Interest form and include the following information:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Company
  • DOT number
  • How you want to participate (Local, Expedited or Post-Peak Trailer Repositioning)

Express Interest in Peak 2023


Why Carriers Love Peak Season

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

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

During the 2022 Peak Season, more than 1,800 carriers in the Coyote network hauled nearly 100,000 loads.

Carriers love participating in UPS Peak season — here are a few 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

Learn more about why carriers love participating in Peak Season.


4 Types of Peak Freight Opportunities for Your Business

There are four 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. Pre-Peak Trailer Repositioning

In preparation for the upcoming Peak Season, UPS leases over 40,000 trailers across the country, and looks to Coyote to help position them where they need to be.

Drivers will move these empty trailers to UPS locations, beginning in September and finishing the week before Thanksgiving.

Pre-Peak Trailer Repositioning in a snapshot: 

  • Freight moves September - November (week before Thanksgiving) 
  • Schedule: flexible
  • Work type: mostly local hauls, shuttling empty trailers

2. 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. 

Details for all local opportunities:

  • Freight moves November - December
  • 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 shipment 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 (NY state only) & UIIA Certifications are all beneficial.
  • 75% of UPS work is in the late afternoon or evening.
  • All tolls reimbursed upon invoiced receipt.

Local-specific (LCD) details:

  • 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

Local-Regional-specific (LCL) details:

  • 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

3. 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.

Expedited Details:

  • Freight moves November - December
  • 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

4. Post-Peak Trailer Repositioning

After Peak Season winds down, UPS needs to return the over 40,000 trailers they leased to support their surge in freight.

Drivers will move these empty trailers from UPS locations back to trailer leasing vendors, beginning in January and finishing in March.

Details for Post-Peak Trailer Repositioning: 

  • Freight moves January - March
  • Schedule: flexible
  • Work type: mostly local hauls, shuttling empty trailers

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