All Things Shipping
Aug 22, 2018

How Will FedEx & UPS Peak Season Surcharges Affect My Business in 2018?

FedEx and UPS recently announced their peak season surcharges for the 2018 holiday season. If you want to avoid Santa’s naughty list this year (and meet your business’ bottom line), you’ll want to make sure you’re aware of these updates, plus the carriers’ standard surcharges which will remain in effect during the holidays. To help you figure out the impact that these will have on your business, we’ve put together the following handy charts outlining the most popular surcharges. Here’s a look at the 2018 FedEx and UPS peak season surcharges.

2018 Residential Peak Season Surcharges

For most e-commerce business owners, the residential peak season surcharges will have the biggest impact on your business, since many packages are delivered to your customers’ homes.

For the second year in a row, FedEx will not be adding additional residential surcharges this holiday season. Keep in mind that FedEx does charge residential surcharges year round which will remain in effect.


In addition to its standard surcharges, UPS will be applying a peak surcharge to each package addressed or delivered to a location that is a home, including a business operating out of a home. You’ll want to pay special attention to the service level you choose and the date you send the package, since that impacts the surcharge you’ll receive.

2018 Large Package Peak Season Surcharges

For oversized packages, FedEx will add additional surcharges during the peak season, in addition to the standard fees. The oversize charge will apply to any FedEx Express U.S. package or FedEx Ground package exceeding 96 inches in length or 130 inches in length and girth [(2 x width) + (2 x height)]. Rating for an oversize package will be based on the greater of the package’s actual rounded weight or dimensional weight, subject to a 90-pound minimum billable weight.


UPS will apply a peak surcharge to packages with length plus girth combined over 130 inches. In addition, during the peak period listed below, a peak surcharge will apply to domestic packages with a length exceeding 96 inches. The large package surcharge will apply to all service levels and all domestic destinations.

2018 Additional Handling Peak Season Surcharges

The FedEx additional handling surcharge will apply to any package that meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • Measures greater than 48 inches along its longest side
  • Measures greater than 30 inches along its second-longest side
  • Has an actual weight greater than 70 pounds
  • Is not fully encased in an outer shipping container
  • Is encased in an outer shipping container not made of corrugated fiberboard (cardboard) materials, including but not limited to metal, wood, canvas, leather, hard plastic, soft plastic (e.g., plastic bags) or expanded polystyrene foam (e.g., Styrofoam)
  • Is encased in an outer shipping container covered in shrink wrap or stretch wrap
  • Is encased in a soft-sided pack (e.g., courier packs, poly bags and bubble mailers) that exceeds 18 inches along its longest side or 13 inches along its second-longest side or 5 inches in height
  • Is cylindrical, including (without limitation) mailing tubes, cans, buckets, barrels, drums or pails
  • Is bound with metal, plastic or cloth banding, or has wheels, casters, handles, or straps (including packages where the outer surface area is loosely wrapped, or where the contents protrude outside the surface area)
  • Packaging could become entangled in or cause damage to other packages or the FedEx sortation system

Package shape and dimensions may change during transit, which can affect the package’s dimensional weight and surcharge eligibility. If the dimensions change during transit, FedEx may make appropriate adjustments to the shipment charges at any time. For U.S. Express and Ground services, this surcharge applies per piece even if multiple pieces are bundled in a shipment.


UPS will apply an additional handling surcharge to packages that require special handling, including, but not limited to:

  • Any article that is not fully encased in a corrugated cardboard shipping container, including but not limited to any article encased in an outside shipping container made of metal, wood, hard plastic, soft plastic (e.g., plastic bag), or expanded polystyrene foam (e.g., Styrofoam).
  • Any cylindrical-like item, such as a barrel, drum, pail, or tire that is not fully encased in a corrugated cardboard shipping container.
  • Any package with the longest side exceeding 48 inches or its second-longest side exceeding 30 inches.
  • Any package with an actual weight of more than 70 pounds.
  • Each package in a shipment where the average weight per package is greater than 70 pounds and the weight for each package is not specified on the source document or the UPS automated shipping system used.

This peak season surcharge applies to all service levels and all domestic destinations.


Once you’re familiar with the FedEx and UPS peak season surcharges, you’ll be able to more accurately forecast your shipping costs and budget for the holiday season. For more information, check out the FedEx surcharge page and the UPS additional charges page and peak season surcharges PDF.

Stay tuned for more holiday tips and news commentary from the team at Shippo to help you prepare your business for the upcoming selling season. If you’d like more advice, check out our recent USPS, FedEx, and UPS blog posts.

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Michelle McNamara
is a Senior Marketing Manager at Shippo

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