A Guide to Peak Holiday Season Changes for FedEx, UPS Shippers

It’s that time of year again! Seasonal retailers are in full-court press mode to prepare for the busy peak holiday season. But those of us that rely on FedEx and UPS to get our products to customers need to be aware of several new changes that will impact shipping costs and guaranteed transit times.

Both FedEx and UPS have announced new, temporary peak holiday season surcharges that will impact shipping costs for ecommerce businesses this holiday season.

UPS Rate Increases for Peak Holiday Season 2017

In June, UPS announced a new peak holiday season charge applicable during selected weeks in November and December. The increase means that every residential package shipped at some point during the Christmas holiday will incur price increases. Residential packages will increase as follows:

  • UPS Next-Day Early, Next-Day Air, Next-Day Air Saver: $0.81 per package, Dec. 17-23, 2017
  • UPS Second-Day Air A.M., Second-Day Air, Three-Day Select: $0.97 per package, Dec. 17-23, 2017
  • UPS Ground (including ground with freight pricing): $0.27 per package, Nov. 19-Dec. 2, 2017 and Dec. 17-23, 2017.
  • UPS SurePost: $0.36 per package, Nov. 19-Dec. 2, 2017 and Dec. 17-23, 2017.

Other increases:

  • Residential packages shipped from an origin within the 48 contiguous states to a destination within Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico will increase $2.99 for all services from Nov. 19-Dec. 2, and from Dec. 17-23.
  • Large Package Surcharges (length plus girth over 130 inches) will increase an additional $24 from Nov. 19-Dec. 23.
  • Over-Maximum Limit surcharges (actual weight over 150 lbs., single side over 108 inches, or over 165 inches in length plus girth) will increase an additional $249 from Nov. 19-Dec. 23.

Click here to download peak surcharges dates and amounts directly from the UPS website.

FedEx Rate Increases for Holiday 2017

Unlike UPS which is increasing surcharges on every residential package, FedEx limited its increases larger packages only, whether shipped to a commercial address or residence. The following FedEx surcharge increases will take effect during the holiday shipping period of Nov. 20-Dec. 24:

  • Additional Handling Surcharge: increases $3 (27.3%) to $14
  • Oversize Charge: increases $25 (34.5%) to $97.50
  • Ground Unauthorized Package Charge: increases $300 (260.9%) to $415

Details of the FedEx surcharges are available at http://www.fedex.com/rates2017

Changes to Service Guarantees

In addition, both package delivery companies announced changes to standard guaranteed delivery times, elongating the time they have to deliver a package and still be considered on time, and also eliminating the service guarantee altogether.

FedEx Service Guarantee Changes for Holiday 2017

FedEx Express

The FedEx Money-Back Guarantee will be suspended temporarily on the following dates:

  • Wednesday, Nov. 22, for shipments that reach their destinations within 90 minutes of the scheduled commitment time.
  • Monday, Dec. 18 through Saturday, Dec. 23, for shipments delivered by the end of the day on the published delivery commitment date for the selected service and destination

FedEx Ground

Packages tendered to FedEx Ground for delivery on the day after Thanksgiving will be scheduled for delivery on that day if the recipient business is open, but in any event, the delivery commitment will be extended to the next business day for application of the money-back guarantee. The money-back guarantee for FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery will be suspended temporarily for packages picked up on Monday, Nov. 27, through Sunday, Dec. 24.

It’s important to note that FedEx also made changes in 2017 to Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day service guarantees. FedEx gets an extra 90 minutes on top of published Express transit times to make delivery before the shipment is considered late.

The FedEx holiday money-back guarantee policy can be found here: http://bit.ly/2vEL0v9

Shippers can also access FedEx’s holiday schedule for important dates and deadlines to avoid shipping delays at: http://bit.ly/2iFqQAj

UPS Service Guarantee Changes

Like FedEx, UPS is changing its published guarantee times to allow additional time-in-transit as follows: From Nov. 20 to Dec. 30, a limited number of UPS Ground and Standard packages, with transit times of three or more days, and with specific origins and destinations, will require an additional day in transit. Visit www.ups.com/holidays  to use the Holiday Ground Impact Tool to identify changes by ZIP code pairs. All UPS Second-Day Air and Three-Day Select packages tendered Dec. 18-19 will require an additional day in transit. UPS Three-Day Select packages tendered on Dec. 19 will be delivered after Christmas.

UPS advises shippers to reference www.ups.com/ctc at the time of shipping for the most up-to-date time-in-transit details.

UPS Air and International Air packages picked up or delivered within the United States are guaranteed throughout the holiday season. However, commitment times for Air and International Air packages scheduled for delivery Nov. 24 and Dec. 18-23 will be extended as follows: UPS Next-Day Air Early and Worldwide Express Plus services will be extended by 90 minutes and all other air and international air services will be extended to end-of-day.

On the other hand, the guarantee for all UPS Ground shipments, including shipments to and from Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, and UPS Standard shipments picked up or scheduled for delivery from Nov. 27-Dec. 24 will be suspended.

UPS’s year-end holiday schedule is available at: http://bit.ly/2xIir1u. Additional information on the UPS service guarantee during the holidays can be found on the UPS website at http://bit.ly/2vzpNUg. Take and use this information to help you make wise business decisions as you lay out your strategy for handling the surge in peak holiday season shipments.

Rob Martinez, DLP is Co-Founder and CEO of Shipware LLC

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