Wealthy Nantucket Islanders Foresee ‘a world of hurt.’ After UPS Forgets To Make Reservations On Summer Ferries

Boston Globe

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There’s one blunder sure to snarl summer travel plans to Nantucket: forgetful vacationers failing to book ferry reservations months in advance, then having to scramble to figure out how to get themselves — and their vehicles — to the island.

This year, United Parcel Service has joined their unlucky ranks.

During the early priority booking window the Steamship Authority makes available to freight shippers, UPS neglected to request reservations for its trucks, said James Malkin, a member of the Steamship Authority’s governing board. By the time the apparent error came to light, ferries to Nantucket for the busy season — from May to October — were booked close to capacity for large shipping trucks.

Now the Steamship Authority and UPS are rushing to make contingency plans, and some Nantucket merchants are starting to panic. Clothing, televisions, hardware, bathroom tiles, most things that can fit in a box usually reach the island on a UPS truck.

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

UPS is the biggest carrier of standard deliveries to the wealthy enclave, Bloise said. “I can’t imagine how we’ll be able to function just relying on DHL, FedEx, and the Postal Service.”

Stephanie Correia, who runs Stephanie’s, a clothing and home goods store on Main Street, said she relies on UPS for most of her inventory. And in the summer, when she makes approximately 75 percent of her annual profits, it’s especially important that those goods arrive. She relies on UPS for deliveries to her home, as well.

For an island community 30 miles out to sea, she said, “it’s a lifeline for business, for homeowners, for Amazon.”

Failing to make ferry reservations is practically an unthinkable error for residents and merchants, she said.

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