Changes Coming to the FedEx Additional Handling Surcharge

04/28/2016 — Leah Palnik

FedEx currently applies an additional handling surcharge to packages with a length greater than 60 inches, but after June 1 the threshold will be lowered to 48 inches. This announcement came during the FedEx third-quarter earnings call and is in response to recent e-commerce trends. More consumers are shopping online, which has led to an increase in home deliveries and an increase in non-traditional items being shipped, such as big screen TVs, mattresses, and swing sets.

The additional handling surcharge currently costs $10.50 per package, so it’s important to take a look at the size of packages you send and receive. If a lot of your packages are greater than 48 inches in length, you will see a significant jump in your costs.

It’s also important to note some of the other criteria from the FedEx service guide that would cause a package to be charged the additional handling surcharge. This surcharge also applies to any Express or Ground package that: 

  • measures greater than 30 inches along its second-longest side
  • has an actual weight of greater than 70 lbs
  • is not fully encased in an outer shipping container
  • is encased in an outer shipping container made of metal or wood
  • is cylindrical, including (without limitation) cans, buckets, barrels, drums or pails that are not fully encased in an outer shipping container made of corrugated cardboard

The rise of e-commerce has caused a considerable amount of change in small package shipping in the past few years. Carriers are constantly adjusting service costs to address market trends. In 2015, FedEx and UPS began applying DIM weight pricing to all ground shipments as opposed to just those three cubic feet or larger. Prior to the 2016 rate increases and just in time for the holiday volume, the charge for oversized packages nearly doubled to $110. In addition, UPS instituted a 2.5% surcharge for third party billing service in response to the growing popularity of drop shipping. As the e-commerce sector continues to thrive we can expect to see more changes like this in the future.

Update: On May 6, 2016 UPS announced it will follow suit with FedEx and reduce its maximum length for the Additional Handling charge. Effective June 6, 2016, UPS Ground packages exceeding a length of 48 inches will be assessed the fee.  

It's important to start evaluating how you these changes will affect your shipping costs. Through a PartnerShip-managed shipping program, you receive significant discounts on select FedEx services - resulting in savings that can help to offset cost increases like these. If you're not sure if you qualify for one of our small package shipping programs contact us and we'll find the solution that's right for you.

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