Atlanta—United Parcel Service on Nov. 2 announced that it will increase its rates for the 15th time in as many years. Standard ground shipping rates will increase by 3.5% on average, effective Jan. 7. The “residential premium”—the price differential between commercial-based and residential-based shipments–will increase from $1.05 to $1.10 per package. Among other rate changes, the price of overnight and two-day air/express services will jump 4%. UPS’s temporary fuel surcharge will remain at 1.25%.
UPS spokesperson Susan Rosenberg says that in addition to covering ongoing rises in expenses, the rate hike will enable UPS to implement technological improvements on many fronts—including ways to improve its delivery tracking system. She says that the increases are not going toward any operational changes in security in the light of the recent anthrax infiltration of the U.S. mail. “Any costs associated with changes in our practices aren’t part of our rate analysis, which was going on well in advance of Sept. 11,” she says.
With this announcement, UPS finally heeded its customers’ longstanding call for earlier advanced warning of its rate increase, Rosenberg points out. In the past, UPS typically announced its rate increase in early- to mid-December, but this year the carrier is announcing the hike earlier “to give customers a better opportunity to plan against their fiscal calendars, which in many cases are on regular calendar cycles,” Rosenberg says. On the other hand, past UPS rate hikes typically took effect in February, rather than January.