In the last few years, all parcel conversations have come back to dimensions. With the introduction of the dimensional charges in 2015, UPS and FedEx customers saw a large increase in their shipping costs for many items, and it seemed difficult to get a hold on which items got charged and why. When the USPS followed suit with its own dimensional rules, things got even more complicated and confusing.

This article on dimensional discounts and surcharges attempts to break down the reasons, rules and effects of dimensional pricing, and what a shipper can do to ease the burden.

UPS and FedEx Dimensional Pricing

People often wonder why Dimensional charges are even added in the first place. For UPS and FedEx, these surcharges are the answer to a problem that has been growing for them. The fact is, private carriers are not built to handle small or light packages. Their network and pricing structure is better suited to large packages, or a large number of packages going to one location. This pricing structure worked fine for years, but with the rise of e-commerce shipping, more individual items started to be sent directly to people’s homes. The first step for UPS and FedEx to counter the rising cost of small residential shipments was to add in the residential surcharge, but that maneuver still wasn’t enough to recoup lost revenue, so they started adding a surcharge specifically to small packages.

UPS and FedEx, like in so many other things, have the same rules for their dimensional packages, and, thankfully, the rules are relatively simple. A shipper needs to compare the actual weight of his or her package to what is known as the dimensional weight, and whichever is higher, that is the weight the shipper is charged. The formula for determining dimensional weight is:

Length" x Width" x Height"
166 lbs.