UPS planning new fees for oversized shipments, pushing customers to freight

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Parcel giant UPS announced plans to increase fees for overweight shipments as the company continues to try and discourage shippers from dumping their large items into UPS’ network designed from small packages.

UPS currently accept packages up to 150 lbs. into its parcel network, and items that exceed the weight limit (known as overmax items) typically aren’t accepted. Sometimes, one of these large items will slip through the cracks and end up in the parcel network, disrupting the flow of packages through UPS’ hubs and requiring additional handling  to process. Overmax items currently face a $500 additional fee, which is now scheduled to rise to $650 on June 4th.

UPS spokesman Glenn Zaccara noted that the fee increase is not being implemented to drive revenue growth for the company. Only a small fraction of the packages that flow through their parcel network exceed the weight limits. Rather, Zaccara noted, the fee is “something we have increased regularly over time to encourage customers to ship through the UPS Freight network for these over max items.”

The continued expansion of e-commerce has exacerbated the overmax problem for parcel carriers, as large items such as appliances, televisions, and furniture can increasingly be purchased online and delivered to either a retail location or a residential address. With large retailers such as Walmart and Amazon often offering items of all sizes through the same interface, parcel carriers can be faced with challenge of having to deal with these overmax packages.

UPS reportedly is in talks with a least one trucking company to form a partnership to create an in-home delivery service for these heavy residential deliveries. In doing so, UPS hopes to take advantage of the rise in e-commerce sales of larger items, and alleviate some of the complications that come with dealing with packages that exceed the weight limit.

In addition, UPS announced that it would be assessing an audit fee to shippers who fail to accurately label package dimensions. Mislabeled dimensions leads to an improper calculation of the rate for packages, and often lead to lower charges to shippers. UPS discovers these dimensional errors as packages are weighed and measured throughout its network. The audit fee will be $1 per package or 6% of the total shipping cost, and will be charged to all shippers that average more than $5 in shipping change correction per package in a given week.