Shipping Dictionary

Sur­charge applied to ship­ments where the address is wrong or incom­plete and the car­ri­er cor­rect it. Has oth­er (more uncom­mon) appli­ca­tions as well. FedEx charges $19.50 and UPS $18 unless nego­ti­at­ed. For FedEx mul­ti­weight and UPS hun­dred­weight ship­ments, mis­takes are billed per incor­rect pack­age cor­rect­ed, though each is capped.

Sur­charge for pack­ages shipped to areas that are less dense­ly pop­u­lat­ed. The car­ri­ers pro­vide a list of zip codes where the sur­charge applies. 

The sur­charge has two lev­els: Deliv­ery Area Sur­charge and Deliv­ery Area Sur­charge Extend­ed. The lat­ter is for more rur­al areas and costs more. The sur­charge ranges between $3.40 and $6.50 for areas oth­er than Alas­ka and Hawaii which are more expensive.

The Dimen­sion­al divi­sor, (also referred to as Dim Divi­sor or DIM) is the num­ber that the dimen­sions are divid­ed by to cal­cu­late the dimen­sion­al weight. Unless nego­ti­at­ed, the DIM divi­sor is 139 for ship­ments mea­sured in inch­es and pounds, and 5,000 for ship­ments mea­sured in cen­time­ters and kilograms.

Cubic inch thresh­old for pack­ages.  Ship­ments that are under the thresh­old (cal­cu­lat­ed as length * width * height) do not have their billed weight sub­ject to dimen­sion­al weight adjustments.

The dimen­sion­al weight is the num­ber you get what you take a pack­age’s dimen­sions and mul­ti­ply (length * width * height) and divide that num­ber by 139.

This for­mu­la is a way for FedEx and UPS to cal­cu­late what they con­sid­er a ‘rea­son­able’ weight for the size box. This is impor­tant for the car­ri­ers since they bill based on the weight of the ship­ment. For most ship­ments, the dimen­sion­al weight is used when it is greater than the actu­al weight. The DIM divi­sor of 139 can de negotiated.

FedEx options for hav­ing some­one sign to receive the pack­age. There are three options, though not some ship­ments may not have all the options available.

  • Direct Sig­na­ture — Some­one at the loca­tion must sign
  • Adult Sig­na­ture — An adult at the loca­tion must sign
  • Indi­rect Sig­na­ture — Some­one in the area (such as a neigh­bor) can sign

FedEx doc­u­ment that con­tains ship­ping rates, terms and con­di­tions, and infor­ma­tion on ship­ping items rang­ing from stan­dard pack­ages to dan­ger­ous goods and haz­ardous mate­ri­als. Some ele­ments that change fre­quent­ly such as fuel costs, and ser­vices such as ground econ­o­my are not includ­ed in the PDF and are found on the FedEx website.

Mea­sure­ment of the thick­ness of a pack­age. The car­ri­ers mea­sure girth with the fol­low­ing for­mu­la: 2x width + 2x height (2W*2H).  This can be thought of as wrap­ping a tape mea­sure around the pack­age). A num­ber of sur­charges are based on the length + girth exceed­ing a cer­tain number.

The annu­al rate increas­es and pric­ing adjust­ments that FedEx and UPS apply, gen­er­al­ly announced in the Fall and go into effect around the begin­ning of the year

A small par­cel pack­age shipped via FedEx ground that is larg­er than FedEx autho­rizes for pick-up. This applies to pack­ages that is 9 feet or longer, has a  girth of 165 or more or weighs above 150 pounds.

Charge for small par­cel pack­ages shipped via FedEx Ground that are larg­er than FedEx autho­rizes for pick-up (referred to as “Ground Unau­tho­rized Pack­ages”). FedEx reserves the right to refuse the pack­age, return it to the sender or dis­pose of it. 

When they deliv­er the pack­age, the pack­age is billed at a min­i­mum 90 LB bill­able weight and there is a surcharge of $1025 unless negotiated.

A mea­sure of the size of a pack­age that the car­ri­ers use for surcharges.

Cal­cu­lat­ed using the fol­low­ing formula:
Length + 2x width + 2x height

Sur­charge that apply for a lim­it­ed amount of year (often dur­ing hol­i­day sea­son).  FedEx and UPS pro­vide peak charge infor­ma­tion as new charges are being released as these sur­charges are not intend­ed to be per­ma­nent and there­fore are not includ­ed in the stan­dard ser­vice guide.


Lan­guage in your car­ri­er con­tract that lim­its how much the car­ri­ers can increase your rates in the annu­al GRI (Gen­er­al Rate Increase).  Rate cap almost always applies to line­haul charges exclusively.

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