UPS to impose hefty holiday fees due to online shopping surge amid COVID-19 pandemic

The United Parcel Service Inc., more commonly known as UPS, plans to put significantly higher fees on larger shipments during the holiday season to help offset the tidal wave of online orders that have resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an Aug. 20 update.

UPS plans to impose fees that could go up to as high as $3 a package for ground shipments and possibly $4 for deliveries that need to be flown to residential destinations, the update stated.

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That is significantly higher than the last time UPS instituted additional fees during a peak holiday season in 2018. Surcharges then reached 28 cents on ground shipments and up to 99 cents for some air shipments.

The new fees will start on Nov. 15 through Jan. 16, 2021.

The surcharges were ideally created for those who ship more than 25,000 packages a week, according to the update.

They have already imposed additional fees on large shippers with some fees going as high as $50. These new charges also come ahead of the busy holiday season as most customers send between 110% - 300% more than an average weekly shipping volume, according to UPS.

“These surcharges help protect our network and ensure UPS is compensated appropriately for additional costs incurred to maintain our high-quality service,” according to an internal document, which was viewed by The Wall Street Journal.

“While retailers may squawk at price increases that come their way, large retailers have a way to spread that across and nobody knows,” UPS’s new chief executive, Carol Tomé, said.

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In the past, the company hasn’t imposed surcharges on residential deliveries during the holidays and instead worked closely with shippers to manage expected shipping volume during the busiest times. It has charged more during peak periods for bulky parcels.

UPS said recently that iexpects a record peak season and will hire nearly 10,000 more workers as a result. Volume of packages for delivery usually rises starting in October and runs through January. The company says it will have full-time and part-time seasonal jobs, mostly package handlers, drivers and driver helpers.

The Atlanta-based company touts the seasonal jobs as ones that can lead to year-round employment.

The Associated Press and FOX Business contributed to this report.