July 2, 2012, 12:10 PM

UPS and FedEx raise freight rates

Rates for non-contractual LTL shipping will increase at least 5.9% on average.

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Retailers shipping large items like couches and treadmills in non-contractual less-than-truckload shipments via United Parcel Service Inc. will pay an average increase of 5.9% beginning July 16, UPS said Friday.

And less-than-truckload shipments, or LTL, rates will increase even more at other freight carriers. Average freight rate hikes of 6.9% go into effect on July 9 at FedEx Corp., Con-Way Inc. and YRC Freight. At ABF Freight, an average rate hike of 6.9% went into effect June 25.

The rate hikes at all of these carriers except FedEx Freight apply to all LTL rates, including minimum charges and accessorial fees, which can include extra charges for services such as using a special lift-gate at a residence to compensate for not having a loading dock. At FedEx, separate rate changes will cover minimum charges and accessorial fees, FedEx says. It didn’t clarify those extra rate changes.

LTL rate hikes are separate from the small-parcel shipping rate increases announced for 2012 by UPS, FedEx and the U. S. Postal Service.

LTL shipments generally take up only part of a truck trailer and involve shipping bulky items of 150 pounds or more. Trucking companies typically consolidate loads from multiple shippers in a single LTL trailer.

UPS notes that its LTL rate hike follows an investment in its trucking infrastructure of $100 million over the past two years. This has enabled the company to deliver more quickly, for example reducing the transit times by as much as 48 hours between Miami and Vancouver, British Columbia, a UPS spokesman says.

UPS has also launched such services as giving retailer shippers and their customers the ability to track LTL shipments online. Consumers can also opt for the UPS MyChoice program, which lets recipients of LTL shipments as well small-parcel deliveries choose when and where to receive their orders.

FedEx will begin offering improved transit times beginning July 9, and last fall it began to let LTL as well as small-parcel shippers  access its online Ship Manager service to manage shipments, a spokeswoman says. YRC Freight says it has improved shipping times and reliability throughout the U.S.

Con-Way and ABF did not immediately return calls for comment.

 

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