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This post was originally published on November 16, 2020. It has since been updated to reflect recent changes in major carrier shipping rates.

Shipping rate changes have been announced by several major carriers for 2021. These shipping changes may or may not affect your shipping budget and strategy for your ecommerce business.

We’ve pulled together a list of announced shipping rate changes broken down by major carriers so you can stay in the know and prepare your shipping budget.

In May 2021, FedEx announced that it would be updating its fuel surcharge tables beginning in June 2021. We’ve outlined the updates below and what they mean.

FedEx

In June 2021, FedEx began updating its fuel surcharge rate tables. The tables outline what percentage of each shipment is charged for fuel. FedEx typically updates these tables weekly based on the US Energy Information Administration’s weekly-published petroleum spot prices.

However, these recent changes from FedEx will present a larger overall change on top of the typical weekly published changes. For FedEx Ground, Express and International, each level increased by 1% compared to the fuel table. For FedEx Express Freight, each rate level increased by $0.016.

Effective July 5 and July 11, 2021

  • Fuel surcharge rate is now charged for 9% of the overall shipment for FedEx Express Domestic and US to Puerto Rico Package Services

Effective July 12 and July 18, 2021

  • Fuel surcharge rate is now charged for 8.75% of the overall shipment for FedEx Express Domestic and US to Puerto Rico Package Services

While FedEx did not publicly announce a reason for the fuel surcharge rate updates, a notice sent to FedEx account holders included the following note, “As the impact of businesses and markets recovering from the impact of COVID-19 continues to generate elevated volume and high demand for capacity, we are experiencing increased operating costs across our network.”

View all fuel surcharges from FedEx here.

Effective January 4, 2021

  • Average of 4.9% increase in rates for FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Home Delivery and FedEx Freight

Effective January 18, 2021

FedEx plans to increase surcharges for Express and Ground packages.

  • Additional Handling Surcharges will apply to packages where the length plus girth measures more than 105 inches.

To calculate the length and girth of your package in order to make sure it is 105 inches or under, use this formula:

L + (Height x 2) + (Width x 2)

If you ship large, bulky, or nonstandard-shaped items, you will need to keep this surcharge in mind.

View all FedEx shipping rate changes here.

USPS

Mailing Services Effective January 24, 2021

Shipping Services have not yet been announced

Effective January 24, 2021, USPS is planning to increase Mailing Services product prices by around 1.8 percent for First-Class Mail and 1.5 percent for other categories.

  • Letters additional ounces will increase from 15 cents to 20 cents
  • Letters (metered 1 oz) will increase from 50 cents to 51 cents
  • Letters and Flats (1 oz) will stay the same at 55 cents and $1 respectively

Find the full list of Mailing Services changes here.

The 2021 Shipping Services changes have not yet been announced.

UPS

Effective December 27, 2020

UPS is planning to increase rates for UPS Ground, UPS Air and International services effective December 27, 2020 -- right after Christmast. increase an average net 4.9%.

  • 4.9% average increase for UPS® Ground, UPS Air and International services

Effective January 10, 2021

  • Additional Handling Charge will apply to packages where the length plus girth combined exceeds 105 inches.

View the full list of UPS rate changes here.

Reviewing Your Shipping Strategy

With these shipping rate changes in mind, it might be time to adjust your shipping strategy. Handling surcharges are set to increase for large and bulky packages, so make sure to measure your packages in order to be prepared for any rate hikes.

If you currently use USPS flat envelopes, you will also be experiencing an increase in mailing rates. Forever stamps will not be increasing in price for 2021, so you can still use them for your USPS bubble mailers if applicable to your product.

If these shipping changes affect your shipping budget too much, you can search for shipping discounts through your ecommerce platform like Shopify, BigCommerce or Magento. If you need to move over to a different ecommerce platform like Shopify, we have a guide to setting up your store.

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