FedEx Freight, FedEx Corp.’s less-than-truckload unit, said Friday that it has added returns to the services offered by its FedEx Freight Direct business, which handles residential and commercial deliveries of big and bulky items ordered online.
The returns service will be available for pickups that don’t require appointments, or have two-hour appointment windows, the FedEx (NYSE: FDX) unit said. Pickups can be made outside of a location, inside a garage, and inside the first ground-level room of a home or business, the unit said. Shipments can weigh up 2,000 pounds, and no individual item can weigh more than 150 pounds.
Freight Direct’s returns service covers nearly 100% of the U.S. population with its Basic Pickup service, where a pickup can be made from a ground-level front or back door either with or without an appointment.
The returns operation’s Standard Pickup service covers 90% of the population, FedEx Freight said. With that service, items are picked up with a two-hour appointment window from the location’s first ground-level room.
Freight Direct launched in 2019 on a limited geographic scale. It began testing returns last year with its Basic Pickup Service, according to Maranda Yarbro, a FedEx Freight spokesperson.
Online demand for big and bulky goods is growing rapidly. As the segment expands, so does demand for returns of large-format items that, for a variety of reasons, consumers don’t want. All returns programs are costly, but large-format items have unique burdens due to the shipments’ size and weight, which usually requires more labor and specialized freight capabilities.