How to Avoid FedEx & UPS Surcharges

Know the shipping rules

The most important part of shipping large packages is to know the rules regarding your package’s weight and dimensions.

  • Any package over 96 inches on its longest side will be assessed a FedEx oversize or UPS large package surcharge. 
  • Any package over 130 inches in length + girth will be assessed a FedEx oversize or UPS large package surcharge.
    • FedEx and UPS define a package’s girth as 2 x width + 2 x height (where width and height are the 2nd and 3rd longest sides of the package)
  • Any package that weighs over 150 lbs scale weight will be assessed a UPS over maximum limits or FedEx ground unauthorized package surcharge.

Oversize and Large Package Surcharges

The FedEx oversize and UPS large package surcharges are some of the most expensive surcharges in Express Package shipping. In 2022, The FedEx oversize charge will be based on zones, varying from $110 for a Zone 2 Express package, to $170 for a Zone 7 or 8 Ground Shipment to a residential address.

FedEx 2022 Oversize Charge

FedEx defines this oversize charge rate as applicable to “packages that exceed 96 inches in length or 130 inches in length and girth. Rating will be based on the greater of the package’s actual rounded weight or dimensional weight, subject to a 90-lb. minimum billable weight.”

UPS has not yet announced their 2022 rates, but the current UPS large package surcharge ranges similarly from $100-$145 per package:

UPS 2021 Large Package Surcharge

UPS uses the same definition, so this surcharge applies when a package’s length exceeds 96 inches or its length plus girth exceeds 130 inches.

Over Maximum Limits and Ground Unauthorized Package Surcharges

Higher yet are the UPS over maximum limits ($920 per package in 2021) and FedEx Ground unauthorized package charge at a whopping $1,025. These surcharges apply to packages that weigh over 150 lbs, which FedEx and UPS typically do not accept at all. However, this does not apply to a package which has an actual weight under 150 lbs, but a dimensional weight over 150 lbs – scale weight is all that matters here.

FedEx and UPS don’t accept any packages over 150 lbs into their networks, so you cannot create a label for a package weighing over 150 lbs. Often, a customer will create a label without knowing the package's exact weight, that lists the package at 140 lbs, for example. The FedEx/UPS driver will accept the package and bring it to their station, where the actual weigh-in will determine the package to be over 150 lbs. At that point, the carriers have the option to deliver the package (with a hefty surcharge), return the package to you, or destroy it.

Worker placing shipping label on box

Helpful Tips

When you have a large shipment, pay attention to the size of the packaging. The girth measurement is often forgotten and can lead to surprise surcharges. 

Before shipping your package as express shipment, it is important to weigh it carefully if it might weigh 150 lbs or more.

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