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UPS peak surcharges for 2018 holiday season

It looks like carrier surcharges won’t slow down this holiday season. UPS continues to bump up the peak surcharges every year while targeting the popular Black Friday and Christmas shopping season. The carrier claims the surcharges are necessary to offset the additional cost of delivering the increase in holiday packages, hiring additional seasonal employees, and ensuring adequate air and ground transportation is available to meet the demand.

What does 2018 have in store for UPS shippers? Here’s what we know so far.

UPS peak surcharges for 2018 holiday season

Peak surcharge Applicable service Surcharge amount 2017 Surcharge amount 2018 Total holiday Surcharge rate Peak dates
Residential Surcharge UPS Next Day Air® Early


UPS Next Day Air®


UPS Next Day Air Saver®

$0.81 per package $0.84 per package $4.99 per package December 16, 2018 through December 22, 2018
Residential Surcharge UPS 2nd Day Air A.M.®

UPS 2nd Day Air®

UPS 3 Day Select®

$0.97 per package $0.99 per package $5.14 per package December 16, 2018 through December 22, 2018
Residential Surcharge UPS® Ground

UPS® Ground with Freight Pricing

$0.27 per package $0.28 per package $3.88 per package November 18, 2018 through December 1, 2018

December 16, 2018 through December 22, 2018

Additional Handling Surcharge All service levels and all domestic destinations No surcharge $3.15 per package $22.15 per package
November 18, 2018 through December 22, 2018
Over Maximum Limits All service levels and all domestic destinations $249 per package $165 per package $815 per package
November 18, 2018 through December 22, 2018
Large Package All service levels and all domestic destinations $24.00 per package $26.20 per package $116.20 per package
November 18, 2018 through December 22, 2018

UPS Residential Surcharge

Residential surcharges are where the carriers deviate. UPS is adding a residential surcharge to its services during peak times which is in direct contrast with FedEx. UPS’ rival opted out of adding a residential surcharge the past two years.

UPS is sprinkling in residential surcharges to hit e-commerce shippers where it hurts. The surcharge ranges from $0.28 to $3.14 depending on the service selected and the final delivery destination.

These residential surcharges are not valid through the entire holiday season. If you look closely there’s a window between December 2 and December 15 where you could completely avoid the residential surcharge on UPS Ground shipments. Some services will only have residential surcharges December 16 – 22, 2018.

You can’t tell customers when to purchase their holiday gifts, but if you can target the periods without residential surcharges in advance that will put you ahead of the carrier’s plan to squeeze every cent out of shippers.

UPS Additional Handling Peak Surcharge

During the holiday season, UPS will add an additional $3.15 for any package that requires additional handling. UPS charges $19 during the normal season bringing the total shipping cost to $22.15 during the holidays.

According to UPS, this surcharge applies to the following packages:

  • 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, or expanded polystyrene foam.
  • 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.

UPS Over Maximum Limits Peak Surcharge

During the holidays, shippers will pay a total of $815 for any package that qualifies as over maximum limits. This surcharge is similar to the FedEx Ground Unauthorized Package Surcharge. Both carriers want to send a message that packages that will cause problems in their network will be penalized severely.

According to UPS, this surcharge applies to the following package:

  • Package has an actual weight of more than 150 pounds
  • Package exceeds 108 inches in length
  • Package exceeds a total of 165 inches in length plus girth [(2 x width) + ( 2 x height)] combined, as measured to determine their billable weight.

Related: FedEx shares 2018 holiday surcharges

UPS Large Package Peak Surcharge

From November 18, 2018, through December 22, 2018, a shipper will experience a $26.20 large package surcharge, bringing their shipping total to $116.20 per package.

A peak surcharge will apply to packages with length plus girth [(2 x width) + (2 x height)] combined over 130 inches. In addition, during the peak periods in 2018 listed below, a peak surcharge will apply to domestic packages with a length exceeding 96 inches.

Share a Refund saves shippers money during peak season

Need a shipping expert on your side? Let Share a Refund work to save you money on shipping during the hectic holiday season. Shipping rates are constantly increasing, but there is still an opportunity to lower costs. Check in with our contract optimization team and get a free assessment of the projected costs due to the new rates. The only surprises this holiday season should be in Santa’s sleigh, not on your carrier invoice.

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