United Parcel Service (UPS) will levy peak surcharges to U.S. residential packages for the holiday season, an unprecedented move by the shipping giant to pay for rising costs.
The charges, ranging from 27 cents to 97 cents per package, will be applied to individual and commercial customers shipping to U.S. residences in November and December, UPS said Monday. While UPS has had residential shipping surcharges, it has never before tacked on holiday season fees.
Under the new fee structure, ground residential deliveries will cost 27 cents more per package in the last two weeks of November and the week before Christmas, reflecting sharp spikes in holiday shopping after Thanksgiving and the days leading up Dec. 25.
Between Dec. 17 to Dec. 23, UPS will charge 81 cents for next day air and 97 cents for second and third-day air deliveries.
From Nov. 19 through Dec. 23, UPS will also apply peak surcharges to large packages and packages that exceed maximum size limits. For packages with length plus girth combined at more than 130 inches, the peak surcharge will be $24 from Nov. 19 to Dec. 23.
Package senders will likely bear the brunt of the raised fees. But shoppers could also pay more if e-commerce retailers look to pass on the fees to customers through higher shipping and handling charges.
UPS ships on average about 30 million packages a day during the peak season, roughly 11 million more than non-peak days. And its delivery operations are ramped up "to process near double our already massive regular daily volume," Alan Gershenhorn, UPS chief commercial officer, said in a statement. "That creates exceptional demands.”
For the holiday season, the company leases more planes and trucks, rents temporary facilities and hires additional seasonal employees for sorting and delivery. In each of the last two years, UPS hired about 95,000 seasonal employees on average for the season, said spokesman Glenn Zaccara. Holiday packages are also generally larger and heavier, the company says.
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