LOUISVILLE — The gift is bought, wrapped and boxed up for a holiday journey to Grandma’s house.
If UPS is your delivery Santa — and both Supply Chain trade magazine and Forbes call it the world's largest delivery company — no matter where in the world Grandma lives, chances are the package will go through the UPS Worldport at Louisville International Airport.
Like the FedEx (FDX) Super Hub at Memphis International Airport, which has 80 miles of conveyor belts and spans 850 acres, UPS' (UPS) Louisville Worldport is a systematic sorting hub with hundreds of miles of conveyor belts in more than 6 million square feet of buildings.
The U.S. Postal Service, which does not operate one main hub like the private mail companies, is the fourth largest package delivery service worldwide. FedEx is the world's third largest delivery company.
German-owned DHL Express, a division of Deutsche Post that has its hub for the Americas out of Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport in Hebron, Ky., is No. 2.
The Courier Journal sent three photographers and a dozen cameras inside the UPS Worldport to capture how the season of giving gets where it needs to go.
Here's a look at UPS by the numbers:
• 318. The average number of flights in and out at the UPS Worldport. That will double to more than 600 flights the week before Christmas.
• 2 million. A normal day of packages sorted at the Worldport. That will double to 4 million the week before Christmas.
• More than 30 million. The number of packages UPS will deliver in 17 of the 21 delivery days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
• 8.5 times. If the boxes that UPS delivers during the holiday season were laid end to end, they would go around the world 8.5 times.
Follow Scott Utterback on Twitter: @Utterback13