FedEx To Start Charging By Package Size

Currently, shipping companies like FedEx and UPS only take a package’s size into account when it passes certain dimensional thresholds, but it looks like FedEx will soon start using package size and weight to determine shipping rates for all packages.

The Wall Street Journal reports that shippers are now being notified of this change, which is slated to go into effect in Jan. 2015.

So those shippers who have been packing their heavy items efficiently with minimal packaging probably won’t be terribly affected, but people sending large but lightweight items — diapers, clothing, shoes, toilet paper, tennis rackets — will see prices increase.

This could have a massive impact on the bottom line of e-commerce biggies like Amazon and its subsidiaries, most specifically shoe-seller Zappos and

If e-tailers suddenly need to worry about sending a light-but-large package, it may result in packaging changes; why send a shoebox inside of a larger box when you can just wrap the shoes in bubble wrap and pack them in a small box?

Of course, Amazon has a long and storied history of sending tiny things in huge boxes, so this may be an end to nearly a decade of Stupid Shipping Gang posts.

According to the Journal, the cost for shipping a five-pound, 30-pack of toilet paper up to 150 miles would increase 42% once the box’s size is factored in. It’s hard to imagine how this price increase doesn’t get passed along in some form to the consumer. Since high shipping costs are a huge turn-off to many shoppers, the price hike will probably need to go into the price charged by the e-tailer.

Granted, FedEx is only one shipping company and it’s not the predominant company used by Amazon. That would be UPS. However, FedEx and UPS have a long history of following each other’s lead on price hikes, so it seems likely that UPS would also begin charging based on parcel dimensions.

“We continually evaluate our policies to remain competitive in the industry,” is the non-statement on the matter from UPS. “Our focus is on being fairly compensated for the value we provide to our customers.”

In an effort to cut down on delivery delays and shipping costs, Amazon has recently begun testing of its own delivery service in San Francisco and other parts of the country.

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