Transportation Secretary Buttigieg visits UPS Worldport

Pete Buttigieg will highlight critical components of shipping operations, especially during the holiday season.
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 9:26 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2022 at 12:57 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Local leaders joined U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for a tour at the UPS Worldport Air Hub Tuesday.

The transportation secretary got to go inside their new electric delivery prototype plane called EVTOL, or electric takeoff and landing aircraft. He spoke in front of a UPS truck and 747-8 Freighter plane.

Buttigieg highlighted critical components of shipping operations, especially during the holiday season.

“Just to remind of us of where were were a year ago during the holiday season,” Buttigieg said. “Americans were wondering if we were able to get basic goods, not to mention things like Christmas presents when we need them.”

Buttigieg said last year more than 99% of packages were delivered on time and this year Black Friday and Cyber Monday saw record sales.

He said he was proud of the work in Kentucky to make the workforce at UPS more diverse and incorporate the middle class.

He was most impressed by the scale with more than 3 million packages are processed at the facility every day.

“Even something that’s coming that’s coming from halfway around the world and going from the east or west coast might fly over people’s heads here to Louisville and get sorted out and then get on its way,” Buttigieg said. “Seeing that come together is like watching a great orchestra at work.”

The secretary highlighted progress made to improve the supply chain. Earlier this year, Buttigieg helped the Biden administration roll out the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“We’ve got to work to make sure that those jobs are made in America, like the battery jobs that were recently announced here in Kentucky, and that we have the charging network and electrical infrastructure to support all of that,” Buttigieg said.

Kentucky received $3.5 billion in funding from the bill for 110 statewide projects, including two projects impacting Louisville.

One of them is a $15.3 million dollar investment called Re-Imagine 9th Street. The other is a $7.4 million effort with the Transit Authority of River City to buy up to six battery-powered electric buses.

“That’s what the vision for the 9th Street project is going to be,” Buttigieg said. “We’ve also invested in a planting grant to help with division for Broadway.”

Buttigieg said inflation costs this season are directly tied to the transportation.

“That ties directly to whether we have good efficient fast smooth supply chains,” Buttigieg said. “On everything from air cargo to the way our rail system works. To the work that truck drivers and delivery derivers are doing every day.”

The Worldport hub is UPS’ largest air facility. It processes an average of 1.6 million packages a day using 155 miles of conveyors, according to UPS.

During the peak holiday season, workers see up to five million packages a day.