U.S. Small Package Courier Costs Skyrocketing on January 3, 2011

Small businesses and businesses that rely heavily on couriers (for document bundles and demo equipment transport) be warned! On January 3, 2011, both FedEx and UPS are decreasing the divisional factors used to calculate dimensional weight for Ground and Air packages that are 3 cubic feet (5,184 cubic inches) or larger. The factors will decrease from 194 to 166 for shipments within the US and from 166 to 139 for international ground shipments to Canada.

You’re probably thinking what’s the big deal? That’s only a 1.17% change for in-country packages and a 1.19% change for packages to Canada? Right? Well, yes and no. Mathematically, the change is small, but you have to remember that couriers charge based on dimensionalized weight and the price increases approximately linearly with weight. Thus, as per this article in MultiChannel Merchant (that deserves a hat-tip for being among the first to pick this up) if you have a large parcel with an actual weight of 6 lbs (with a list rate of $29.50) that used to dimensionalize to 14 lbs (with a list rate of $55.90), it would now dimensionalize to 16 lbs (with a list rate of $65.40), which increases your cost by 17%.

In other words, unless you can “grandfather” in the current dimensionalization factor into your renewal agreements, your shipping costs could easily go up by 15% to 20% across the board as a result of that 1.17% change in the dimensionalization factor.

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