Two Surcharges Parcel Shippers Should Look Out For

by | Aug 8, 2016

2 min read


Any parcel shipper who has taken a look at their data can tell you there are a lot of surcharges and accessorials they contend with on a daily basis. As carriers have learned they can increase their revenue through added fees like these, they have unsurprisingly become commonplace.

More and more shippers are looking to data to help them drive down their shipping costs, and although keeping up with surcharges can be a task in and of itself, there are two in particular that price-conscious parcel shippers should keep an eye on if they use UPS® as their carrier of choice.

They are the Additional Handling surcharge and the Large Package surcharge. While these are both common surcharges, the difference between the two may not be clear to the average shipper. Here’s a rundown, per UPS’s website:

  • Additional Handling Surcharge – The Additional Handling surcharge applies to the following1:
    • Any article that is encased in an outside shipping container made of metal, wood, or plastic
    • Any cylindrical 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 greater 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
  • Large Package Surcharge – A Large Package Surcharge will be applied to each UPS package when its length plus girth [(2 x width) + (2 x height)] combined exceeds 130 inches (330cm), but does not exceed the maximum UPS size of 165 inches (419cm). Large Packages are subject to a minimum billable weight of 90 pounds (40kgs) in addition to the Large Package Surcharge.2

An important distinction to note is that shippers will typically not be charged for both of these surcharges at once. Additional Handling will not be assessed to packages that qualify for the Large Package surcharge, and vice versa.

It’s important for shippers to be aware of where their money is going. And for shippers who ship boxes between 48 and 59 inches (Additional Handling surcharge) or who ship large or irregularly shaped objects (Large Package surcharge), there’s a good chance that money is going to one of these two surcharges.