Even though you've entrusted your package to Federal Express and feel confident it will be delivered on time, it's always reassuring to track a package as it works its way via truck, plane and delivery van to its destination. Sometimes packages are held up, and sometimes they arrive early. In either case, it's good to know when that might happen in case you have to notify the recipient. Fortunately, tracking is available.

Picking up and Tracking

That little black device in the hands of the FedEx driver is a SuperTracker. It scans the package's tracking number on pickup and uploads the time and driver identity to the company's automated tracking systems, also known as COSMOS for customer operations service master online system. On an ordinary U.S. Airbill, the tracking number is at the top of the form in large black type. From the time of pickup, you have several alternatives for following your package through the system.

On the Web

On the FedEx website homepage, find the "Track a Shipment" section located just below the large information banner running across the top of the page. Enter your tracking number into the box, and click on "Track." The system should return information on the current status of the package. You can also track using an internal reference number, such as a purchase order number that your own company has generated. Tracking is also available through the FedEx Mobile system for smartphones and mobile devices.


FedEx uses several different routine status phrases. "Arrived at FedEx Location," for example, means the package has arrived in the region or city of delivery. "At Destination Sort Facility" means the package is working its way through the destination sorting apparatus before going out for delivery. "In Transit" means the package is on the plane to its destination, and "On FedEx Vehicle for Delivery" means it has been sorted and loaded onto the delivery truck. The one status you don't want to get is "Exception," meaning something is holding up your package.

Ship Manager Software

FedEx also makes available Ship Manager Software for larger businesses and those that rely on the company for frequent or essential services. You obtain the software by application to the company and by working through a FedEx customer support representative. Once installed, the software will keep track of all current and previous packages sent via FedEx, even if the company's website happens to be down or unavailable. The status of each individual package is updated in real time through the COSMOS system.

Customer Service

With the tracking number available on your copy of the Airbill, you can also contact FedEx Customer Support for a status on your package. The main number for U.S. and international customer service is 800-463-3339; for commercial accounts, the number is 800-488-3705. If the website, software and phones are all down, or your tracking information is unavailable, you have one more alternative in visiting a FedEx store, where a counter person might have access to the status. If you've lost the tracking number, you can ask the company to search your current shipments from your account history.